Forwarded from: Jei <jeiat_private> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52162-2003Apr18.html By Brian Krebs washingtonpost.com Staff Writer Friday, April 18, 2003 White House cybersecurity adviser Howard Schmidt will resign from his post at the end of the month, raising concerns about the Bush administration's commitment to implementing its strategy for protecting the nation's critical information infrastructure. Several friends and close associates of Schmidt said he had informed them of his plans to leave the White House. The former chief of security at Microsoft Corp., Schmidt became chair of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board in February following the departure of his predecessor, Richard Clarke. Schmidt played a key role in drafting the administration's recently released cybersecurity strategy, and has spent the last two years building ties with the private sector in a joint effort to protect the nation's most important information systems from cyber-attack. He had been negotiating to become cybersecurity adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, but his effort fell through, according to friends and associates interviewed for this story. Schmidt's imminent departure would leave the administration without a high-ranking official solely in charge of cybersecurity, at a time when many observers are criticizing the White House for shifting attention and resources away from the issue. "Industry understands this is an important issue. Congress and the president have said [it is too], yet the department has no senior level official working full-time on the issue," Clarke said. Failing to appoint a cybersecurity adviser at Homeland Security "reflects a total lack of intellectual understanding of the issue on the part of the people working for Ridge," he said. In January, the administration consolidated the work of five federal cybersecurity offices into the Homeland Security Department, but it remains unclear how those divisions will work together or whether they have adequate resources to carry out their mission. Full responsibility for cybersecurity matters currently rests with Robert Liscouski, a former Coca-Cola executive who was recently named assistant secretary of infrastructure protection at the Homeland Security Department. Liscouski's portfolio includes both cybersecurity and protecting the nation's vital physical assets from attack. Given the scope of the physical infrastructure challenge, some observers have said cybersecurity matters will be overlooked. "The great irony here is that we have President Bush doing what Clinton refused to do - namely giving cybersecurity incredibly high prominence in naming a personal assistant to the president and issuing a national cybersecurity strategy," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America. "Yet, a few weeks after the strategy's release, all of the leadership (on cybersecurity) disappears. There are some very serious consequences of that in terms of the lack of leadership, because a lot of what needs to be done requires a full time cheerleader." After Clarke's departure from the White House in February, the administration announced that it was abolishing the Critical Infrastructure Board and transferring its duties to the Department of Homeland Security. That move did not eliminate Schmidt's role as White House cybersecurity adviser, though it did eliminate his responsibility for leading the board. Schmidt declined to comment for this story. White House and DHS officials did not return calls seeking comment. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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