White House cyber adviser Melissa Hathaway resigns

Hathaway will leave her current post later this month, according to an article on The Wall Street Journal's Web site

Melissa Hathaway, the Obama administration’s acting senior director for cyberspace, has announced her resignation from that post effective later this month, according to a report on The Wall Street Journal’s Web site.

Hathaway led the Obama administration’s 60-day review of cyber policy earlier this year, and was considered a leading candidate for a permanent cyber coordinator position that President Barack Obama said in May he would establish. That post remains vacant.

Hathaway's team completed the review on April 17 after examining relevant presidential policy directives, executive orders, national strategies, as well as taking input from agencies, industry, academia, the civil liberties and privacy communities, state and international governments, and the legislative branch. The report included recommendations for how the government should move forward including two action plans, one for the near-term and one for the mid-term.

Previously, Hathaway was senior adviser and cyber coordination executive to the Director of National Intelligence, and played a leading role in coordinating the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative started by the George W. Bush administration.

The Journal reported that Hathaway said she was leaving for undefined personal reasons.

In an e-mail, White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “We are grateful for her dedicated service and for the significant progress she and her team have made on our national cyber security strategy.”

Shapiro also said cybersecurity is a major priority for Obama which is why shortly after taking office he directed the National Security and Homeland Security Councils to conduct the cybersecurity review. He also said the Obama is “personally committed” to finding the right person for the cybersecurity coordinator position and that “a rigorous selection process is well underway.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Fri, Aug 28, 2009

Taking over the internet for a national emergency seems appropriate, however the side effects of such a move might be detrimental to individual freedom. Depending on how long the "take" would last, it could have the same ramifications as another civil rights plow under. Because of the abuses of the Bush administration--and if not direct abuses--at least the appearance of abuses--Americans might take up pitchforks. Let's not forget the Patriot Act, unwarranted searchs, the peering at personal financial and communications records and a belfry full of intimiations that looked around laws and courts in order to satisfy alarmists.

Sun, Aug 16, 2009

Does this mean to imply that Melissa Hathaway was not at the top of the short list? I listened to her speak and was very impressed with her for a number of reasons. One of the sharpest experts I've heard speak on the topic of cyber security. Unless she had some thoughts and views which differed or conflicted dramatically from everyone else on Obama's team, I cannot understand why her service under Bush II played any role in her candidacy as Cyber Czar... unless she was party to "unpopular" government privacy invasion activities. I'm pretty sure her skills were transferable to the new Administration unless there were some currently in office she rubbed the wrong way and who may have had the President's ear and was very vocal about continueing to look elsewhere. The search for a CyberSecurity Czar has been going on for MONTHS! This is suppose to be high on Obama's priority list. There are plenty of industry experts out there both in the public space as well as the private sector. Is is THAT difficult to find and vet someone? I still think Melissa would have served this country well even if she served Bush II. Unless she herself was vocal in letting her politics interfer with her ability to work with the Obama Administration. Sometimes things are not always as they look until more is said by Melissa or those who felt others needed to considered.

Tue, Aug 4, 2009 JoeMac

Word on the street is that some in the Obama circle objected to her as politically tainted due to her service under Bush II and were very vocal in their opposition to her candidacy for the coordinator slot. Too bad politicians only know how to practice politics...

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