White House cyber-security adviser Howard Schmidt resigned from his government post Monday, the second high-level official to leave President Bushs Critical Infrastructure Protection Board in as many months.
Schmidt, a former Microsoft security executive, sent an e-mail to colleagues early Monday saying the federal governments move to turn the PCIPB responsibilities over to the newly created Department of Homeland Security led to his decision to resign and return to the private sector, according to sources close to the matter.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.
In February, Schmidt had taken over the duties of PCIPB chairman Richard Clarke, who stepped down under similar circumstances. The two resignations revive questions about the boards place and utility in the new Department of Homeland Security.
The PCIPB is set to become part of the massive Department of Homeland Security later this year, and it is unclear how it will fit in with the numerous operational information security organizations being brought under the departments control. The job of overseeing the departments Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division remains unfilled. Schmidt was widely seen as a top contender for a primary cyber-security role, however.
With Schmidt out of the picture, insiders continue to speculate on cyber-security leadership at the federal level. One name that has come up in discussions about the job is that of John Tritak, the former director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office. Tritak, a lawyer and State Department veteran, recently left the CIAO. People close to the situation said he had become frustrated by the inefficiencies of the numerous overlapping organizations within the federal government that were responsible for information security, sources said.
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