Cybersecurity may be a top priority for the Obama administration, but getting someone to oversee this task is going to get a bit more difficult as acting cybersecuity head Melissa Hathaway gave her walking papers Wednesday. Hathaway's resignation is a step backward in the administration's cybersecurity effort, which President Obama outlined in a May speech. During that speech the president announced that he wanted to create a permanent cybersecurity position, and Hathaway, who finished the administration's 60-day cybersecurity review in April, was apparently Obama's top choice to fill the role.
A former member of the Bush Administration, Hathaway said in a Wall Street Journal article that her reasons for leaving were personal. "It's time to pass the torch," she said, adding that she and her colleagues have provided an "initial down payment for what's needed to start to address cybersecurity." The administration has made cybersecurity a high priority amid intelligence officials concerns that Chinese and Russian cyberspies have been watching U.S. infrastructure and military networks.
When news of Hathaway's departure broke, Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.) said in a Reuter's article that instead of having one cybersecurity "czar," the administration should instead name a "cyber leader" within the Department of Homeland Security.
Obama launches cyberspace policy adventures
Obama 'cyber czar,' cybersecurity strategy imminent