Rockefeller: 'Cyber czar' has too many bosses


I spent the morning in a Senate Commerce committee hearing on transportation security challenges. I’ve got a story on the hearing going up on the homepage soon: DHS secretary Janet Napolitano was the lone witness, and she spent a while talking about collective bargaining rights for Transportation Security Administration employees.

One other item of note that didn’t quite fit into the TSA story: Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., offered a bit of insight into his thinking on cybersecurity. Rockefeller said he was worried about President Barack Obama’s plan to name a “cyber czar” — but, unlike other legislators, he’s not concerned that the czar will be unaccountable to the Senate. Rather, he’s worried that the new cyber coordinator, who will report to the National Economic Council and the National Security Council, will have too many bosses:

We say there ought to be somebody who reports only to the president. If that’s another “czar,” then that’s the kind of czar you want to have, because that [cybersecurity]is the number-one national security threat to the United States. I feel there ought to be somebody who reports directly to the president… otherwise we’re going to drift away from cybersecurity being the top priority.

Rockefeller and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine (they’re the “we” in that quote) have introduced legislation that would create a “czar” accountable directly to the president.


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