By Declan McCullagh
Politics and Law
February 9, 2009
In a move that could reshape the federal government's cybersecurity
efforts, President Obama on Monday said a former Booz Allen consultant
would conduct an immediate two-month review of all related agency
The announcement indicates that the White House's National Security
Council may wrest significant authority away from the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, which weathered withering criticism last fall for its
Obama selected Melissa Hathaway, who worked for the director of national
intelligence in the Bush administration and was director of an
multi-agency "Cyber Task Force," to conduct the review with an eye to
ensuring that cybersecurity efforts are well-integrated and competently
"The president is confident that we can protect our nation's critical
cyber infrastructure while at the same time adhering to the rule of law
and safeguarding privacy rights and civil liberties," said John Brennan,
the president's homeland security adviser.
Hathaway's appointment comes as Obama plans to overhaul the National
Security Council, expanding its membership and effectively centralizing
more decision-making in the White House staff. That would vest more
authority in a staff run by James L. Jones, a former Marine Corps
commandant who warned at a speech in Munich over the weekend that
terrorists could use "cyber-technologies" to cause catastrophic damage.
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