Obama orders 'sweeping' review of US cybersecurity
WASHINGTON (AFP) ó President Barack Obama announced a sweeping review of US cybersecurity to protect the government's information technology systems from security and economic threats.
The 60-day review is to be overseen by Melissa Hathaway, a former official in George W. Bush's presidency who coordinated cyber monitoring for the director of national intelligence, according to a White House statement.
During the election campaign, Obama had equated cyber risks to the threat of nuclear or biological attack and promised a high-level review if he became president.
"The national security and economic health of the United States depend on the security, stability, and integrity of our nation's cyberspace, both in the public and private sectors," said Obama's assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security John Brennan.
"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," he said in the statement.
The Bush administration was accused of trampling on civil liberties through intrusive monitoring of both telephone and computer traffic.
But the threat of cyber attacks on official US systems has been laid bare in recent years with a spate of hacking incidents, including several blamed on China.
A congressional panel warned in November that China had developed a sophisticated cyber warfare program and stepped up its capacity to penetrate US computer networks to extract sensitive information.
And a December report by the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency told the new leader that cybersecurity was "among the most serious economic and national security challenges we will face in the 21st century."
FULL WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE follows:
President Obama has directed the National Security and Homeland Security Advisors to conduct an immediate review of the plan, programs, and activities underway throughout the government dedicated to cyber security.
This 60-day interagency review will develop a strategic framework to ensure that U.S. Government cyber security initiatives are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated with Congress and the private sector.
"The national security and economic health of the United States depend on the security, stability, and integrity of our Nationís cyberspace, both in the public and private sectors. The President is confident that we can protect our nationís critical cyber infrastructure while at the same time adhering to the rule of law and safeguarding privacy rights and civil liberties," said Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan.
Melissa Hathaway, who has served as Cyber coordination Executive to the Director of National Intelligence, will lead the review and will serve as Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils during the review period.