Report: Gov’t Cybersecurity Chief to Quit

The U.S. government’s point man for internet security Richard Clarke will quit next month and look for work in the private sector because of dissatisfaction with positions offered to him in the new Department of Homeland Security, the Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.

Quoting industry and government sources, Reuters said Clarke will step down after presenting the final version of the comprehensive National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace plan, a document that will set government policies to encourage Internet security practices among business, government and individuals.

The report said Clarke was unsatisfied with the new positions offered him, as they would be a step down from his current role as national point man for cybersecurity efforts.

An early draft of Clarke’s plan was leaked to the media earlier this month. Among other things, it calls for the new Homeland Security Department to develop plans for securing the country’s networks. It also warns that the Administration reserves the right to engage in cyber warfare.

Clarke’s resignation is sure to hurt the government’s controversial plan to incorporate new technologies and online surveillance in the fight against global terrorism.

Clarke, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was hired in October 2001 by the Bush administration and charged with protecting the nation’s telecommunications and information technology infrastructure against a terrorist attack.

Prior to the appointment as Security Czar, Clarke was National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism.

It is not clear if Clarke will also give up his post on the president’s National Security Council. One name likely to pop up among replacements is that of Gen. Wayne A. Downing, who replaced Clarke as counter-terrorism chief.