Lawmakers Pressure White House over Cyber-czar
Three months after President Obama promised in May to appoint a cyber-security czar, the co-chairs of the U.S. House Cybersecurity Caucus urge the White House to step up its efforts.Congress is beginning to grumble over President Obama's failure to appoint a cyber-security czar months after Obama promised he would do so. Obama issued his Cyberspace Policy Review on May 29 to great fanfare and pledged to name a cyber-czar, which he called a coordinator, to oversee the plan.
Melissa Hathaway, who led the Obama administration's cyber-security review while serving as acting cyber-security czar, resigned in August. Hathaway was widely viewed as a leading contender for the permanent cyber-security post. She reportedly resigned in frustration over the White House's lack of action over cyber-security.
In a Sept. 10 letter to the White House made public Sept. 14, Reps. James Langevin and Michael McCaul, the co-chairs of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, wrote, "We strongly believe that the continued absence of a permanent cyber-security coordinator impedes the ability of federal agencies to move forward in updating and strengthening their aging cyber-policies."
The two representatives added that lack of a cyber-coordinator also complicates "our efforts to collaborate with private institutions that play such a critical role in keeping our nation safe."
Langevin and McCaul co-chaired the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency that found "foreign aggressors and criminals have been able to penetrate inadequately protected U.S. networks."
McCaul, in particular, has been pushing for more action by Obama. "This threat's not going away," McCaul said Sept. 3 in remarks at Rice University's James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy. "When you see these attacks-more malicious in nature, designed to do harm-that's very concerning. I don't think we have the luxury of a lot of time and I urge the administration to start moving forward with a plan."