Obama Appoints Former Bush Administration Official as Cybersecurity Chief

Tuesday the White House tapped a former Bush administration official for the job.

Howard A. Schmidt, who was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush's White House, will be Obama's new cybersecurity coordinator, an administration official said Monday night. A letter announcing the appointment was posted on the White House Web site early Tuesday.

The letter said Schmidt will "have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff. He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous," The Washington Post reports.

In the meantime, Howard Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft executive who advised President Bush, was appointed after others turned down the job.

Mr Schmidt has been set the task of uniting various disparate agencies and organisations to shore up the country's defence against cyber attack.

In May this year, President Obama pledged to personally appoint someone to the post.

In a letter posted on the White House website, John Brennan, assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism said that protecting the internet was "critical to our national security, public safety and our personal privacy and civil liberties".

"It's also vital to President Obama's efforts to strengthen our country, from the modernisation of our health care system to the high-tech job creation central to our economic recovery," BBC News reports.

Reuters quoted John Brennan as saying, "Howard will have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff."

He said Schmidt will also work closely with Obama's economic team.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and FBI, Schmidt earlier in his career served as chief security officer at Microsoft Corp and as chief information security officer at eBay, The Washington Post reported.

He has some 40 years experience in government, business and law enforcement, the White House said, Reuters reports.

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