White House Hires Cybersecurity Expert

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The White House now has a cybersecurity expert on board.

The Associated Press reports that expert is Howard A. Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft executive.

Schmidt, who worked for the Bush administration, has weathered a rocky selection process that dragged on ten months after President Barack Obama declared cybersecurity a priority and ordered a broad administration review.

Now that he's got the job of cybersecurity coordinator, Schmidt is tasked with shoring up the country's computer networks and streamlining coordination with companies that operate 80 percent of those critical systems.

The president is expected to make the announcement today, according to an anonymous senior White House official. The official said President Obama was personally involved in the selection process and chose Schmidt because of his unique background and skills. Schmidt will have regular and direct access to the president for cybersecurity issues, the official said.

Nearly seven months ago, the president vowed that the White House would name a cyber coordinator to deal with one of the "most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."

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