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Obama's top cybersecurity director resigns

'Dismayed' and delayed

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The top White House aide for cybersecurity said she will resign following months of delays by the Obama administration in appointing a permanent director to oversee the safety of the nation's vital computer networks.

Melissa E. Hathaway, told The Washington Post her last day would be August 21. Up to now, she had been considered a candidate for "cybersecurity czar," a post designed to give a single person authority for securing networks and infrastructure that serve the country's banks, hospitals and stock exchanges.

Hathaway served as a cybersecurity aide in the Bush administration and went on to lead the team that wrote a 76-page "top-to-bottom" study for better protecting US computer networks. Among other things, it recommended putting a single person in charge of the effort to prevent bureaucratic infighting. Many Washington insiders had said they expected the post to be filled in late May or early June.

According to The Washington Post, Hathaway grew "dismayed" by the delay and developed "the sense that this was very political" because of her ties to former President George W. Bush.

"I wasn't willing to continue to wait any longer, because I'm not empowered right now to continue to drive the change," she said.

The main thrust of the report Hathaway spearheaded was that the country's computer networks, power grid and other electronic infrastructure should be considered a national asset and protecting them should be a national priority. Some complained the effectiveness of cybersecurity position had already been diminished when it was decided the aide wouldn't have direct access to the president. Hathaway's resignation is likely to further fuel critics of the plan. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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