By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2003-05-26 Print this article Print

Clarke: No, no. I imagine it will be some nationally recognized expert in cyber-security. eWEEK: That seems like something that wouldve been a nice fit for you. Was that not something that interested you?
Clarke: Ah, no. I had done 30 years of government service, 11 of that with the White House. No one had ever done 11 years continuous service at the White House before. So I had done enough. Its kind of like a sentence of hard labor.
eWEEK: Were you surprised to see Howard Schmidt leave so soon after you left? Clarke: No. I think Howard did the right thing. He certainly by leaving sent a message to the administration and the Department of Homeland Security that they needed to move quickly to create the national center and they needed to have a person in charge of that with some real power. So I think his departure caused a lot of attention on the Hill, a lot of attention in the Congress that the national center hadnt been created yet. And one of the reasons the administration is going to announce the creation of the center soon is because of that pressure that Howards departure engendered. eWEEK: How vital is it that they really get someone with a strong national reputation? Clarke: The center will never become what it should be in terms of the national locus for policy unless theres a nationally recognized and high-level person with high-level access in the administration. Because otherwise people will just consider it another bureaucratic organization. Its very key that they get the right person, very key that person has access to the president, the homeland security adviser, and homeland security secretary. eWEEK: Looking at the process of putting out the national strategy, is there anything that you think youd do differently? Clarke: Well, not much. I think people got involved all across the country, both in the 10 town meetings that we held and in the about 15 groups that contributed by writing their own parallel strategies. The electric group, the banking group, oil and gas—all of the verticals created their own national strategies as part of that process. Often, strategies are just the documents themselves. This was not just the document, but also all of the awareness activity that was created by the process. And that was our goal from the beginning, was to have an unusual process that drew people in and raised awareness. I think it was very successful. The unprecedented idea of then turning out a draft and letting the entire world comment on it also stimulated a lot of involvement and awareness. No ones ever done that before. Typically Congress doesnt even have a shot at it. If you look at the other national strategies for drug control or physical security, national security, military, only the cyber strategy was done in a participatory way with the public involved helping to write it. Latest Security News:


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