During his 30 years in Washington, Richard Clarke evolved from a State Department staffer into the nations top counterterrorism official and, at the time of his retirement in March, the special adviser to the president for cybersecurity. Along the way, he developed a reputation for knowing how to get things done and also became one of the more polarizing figures in the inner circles of power inside the Beltway. He worked directly for three presidents in a span of 11 years at the White House and was the driving force behind the development of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Hes now working as a consultant to ABC News and several security vendors. Senior Editor Dennis Fisher sat down with Clarke recently in Boston to talk about the state of security in the government and private sector and the development of the new National Cybersecurity Center.
eWEEK: When you decided to leave the government, was that something that you planned for a while or was there some proximate cause?
Clarke: No, that was something I had planned for 20 years. I had just reached the 30-year mark. I had completed 30 years of government service.
eWEEK: The whole establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the way that was all set up, how much of a role did that play in your decision to leave?
Clarke: What we had decided to do, I had been involved with the president and others in helping to decide to create a department in the beginning before the administration had even announced its support for a department. We decided to take the cyber-security components of five different organizations and put them together in the department. Then, when we did the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, we intentionally sort of made two-and-a-half of the five priorities things that the new department would have to implement. So there was a plan in place for almost a year to move a lot of this function to the new department. It was one of the key things that the department would do.
eWEEK: Whats your impression so far of how everythings going there and how the consolidation is working?