By Jaikumar Vijayan
March 25, 2009
The Senate Homeland Security Committee's senior-most Republican is
asking DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to explain why the National Cyber
Security Center (NCSC), set up within the department last year, has
seemingly been marginalized by the agency.
In a March 23 letter addressed to Napolitano, Sen. Susan Collins
(R-Maine) also demanded a detailed explanation from the DHS on how the
$6 million that had been set aside for the NCSC last year had been
spent. Collins said the letter was prompted by concern over several
assertions made by former director Rod Beckstrom when he quit his job
earlier this month.
In his resignation letter, Beckstrom said that the NCSC had not received
appropriate support from within the DHS and had received just five
weeks' worth of funding over all of last year. He also said that the
NCSC had faced various roadblocks that appeared to have been
intentionally engineered from within the DHS and the White House Office
of Management and Budget. Beckstrom also pointed to what he said were
growing attempts by the National Security Agency (NSA) to wrest control
of the NCSC as a reason for his resignation.
Pointing to the comments, Sen. Collins said the Senate Committee needed
to understand more fully "how and why the NCSC was allegedly
marginalized," despite the prominent role in cybersecurity that had been
envisaged for it when the office was first created. Collins pointed to a
letter written by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff last June
describing the NCSC as the "single location for all-source situation
awareness about cybersecurity" across government.
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