By Jill R. Aitoro
Federal officials working to craft a national cybersecurity plan to
protect government and corporate computer networks from attacks kept too
much of the work secret, which led to criticism from those in government
and industry unable to monitor progress, the Bush administration's head
of cybersecurity told Nextgov.
Greg Garcia, who was appointed assistant secretary of cybersecurity and
telecommunications at the Homeland Security Department in 2006, said the
Bush administration plotted out a sophisticated, interagency program
that was "extraordinary." But, he added, the White House kept the
Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which DHS designed to
better protect computer networks by improving the way agencies managed
information technology, too secret -- a criticism that many IT security
professionals and consultants leveled at the program.
"There was too much classified, which was not helpful politically and
not helpful in getting the word out," he said in an interview with
Nextgov on Tuesday. "We had to walk that line between raised awareness
of what was being accomplished and not letting out too much information
that could cause us to be targeted. Still, too much was kept secret."
The Obama administration has not detailed a cybersecurity strategy, but
on Monday it ordered a 60-day review of the government's cybersecurity
programs and initiatives. Garcia doubts Obama will scrap Bush's
cybersecurity strategy altogether, but it's not clear if it will
continue in its present form.
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