Obama to release cyber security report on Friday

May 26, 2009
"Cyber war!" flashes on the screen at an internet security conference. President Barack Obama is to release the results of a 60-day review of US cyber security policy on Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama is to release the results of a 60-day review of US cyber security policy on Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

"The report is an important first step towards securing our nation's cyber infrastructure," Gibbs told reporters.

"The administration recognizes the very serious threats public- and private-sector networks face from cyber crime and ," he said.

"Recognizing these threats, the president has elevated cyber security to a major administration priority."

The 60-day review of US cyber security policy was carried out by Melissa Hathaway, a former Bush administration official who has been serving as the interim White House cyber security adviser.

No single US agency is currently charged with ensuring government cyber security and lawmakers have called for creating a powerful national cyber security advisor reporting directly to the president.

Plans to reorganize the US government's approach to IT security come amid a growing threat of cyber spying and attacks, including reported breaches of the US electricity grid and the F-35 fighter jet program.

Cyber security was subject to fierce turf battles under the previous administration between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the super-secret (NSA).

A top DHS cyber security official quit in March, complaining that DHS had been sidelined and US cyber protection efforts were being dominated by the NSA.

Gibbs said the administration was "committed to establishing the proper structure within the government to ensure issues continue to receive top-level attention and enhanced coordination."

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Obama planned to create a post of "cyber czar" but "discussions were continuing as to what rank and title the adviser would have."

The cyber chief would be a senior official with "broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation's government-run and private computer networks," it said.

(c) 2009 AFP

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