Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 7, 2009

Beckstrem resigns like a Brit

Filed under: Intelligence and Info-Sharing — by Philip J. Palin on March 7, 2009

Rod Beckstrem, Director of the National Cybersecurity Center, has resigned for cause.  In his resignation letter he warns the National Security Agency, “effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees, technology insertions, and the proposed move of NPPD and the NCSC to a Fort Meade NSA facility.  NSA currently dominates most national cyber efforts. While acknowledging the critical importance of NSA to our intelligence efforts, I believe this is bad strategy on multiple grounds.  The intelligence culture is very different than a network  operations or security culture.  In addition, the threats to our democratic processes are significant if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization (either directly or indirectly).”

For more see the Associated Press,  Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

In one of its first actions the Obama White House ordered a review of cybersecurity that is scheduled for completion in April.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 10, 2009 @ 10:46 am

The all or nothing approach and centralization seems a bad idea to me. In particular, NSA has struggled with the whole issue of domestic electronic surveillance of traffic. Let them resolve this issue first and then reconsider.

I do appreciate the reference to “Like a Brit” wherein resignations for conscious occur quite often and often at high levels of appointees and civil servants. Not so many in the US. The big issue underlying the resignation is not to hope that the review ending up with NSA as the cyber security lead is forestalled. Again it is that the review process in the so-called transparent administration of President Obama is so opaque. And again simultaneous with the review unclear as to how the so-called White House Cyber Security Czar relates to all this. How many White Houses are there? Looks to me like the Chief of Staff is overwhelmed and underwhelming performance so far? Could it be that really not helping Presidential agenda but simply promoting friends and policies as gatekeeper that he thinks appropriate. Given confirmation process, OBAMA team in departments and agencies will not be on board much before mid-summer. Wow! Hope that those who want an ad hoc crisis management process don’t see a test of that until 2010. OBAMA says economy could become a crisis (I think so already) yet still no system in place for when it becomes one. Blair says world economy is the top National Security issue now. Okay so how many economists have been trained to analyze international economic system from its national security impacts and effects. Almost no real economic depth at the INTEL agencies. Maybe NSA should be worrying about cyber security over financial intel and ops for international orgs? Change in statutory charter perhaps? Again huge issue for which no Congressional oversight? Ignorance is bliss?

Pingback by Cyber controversy craves context | Homeland Security Watch

March 25, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

[…] in between) in terms of cyber-security documentation.  It is some of the continuing fall-out from Rod Beckstrom’s dramatic resignation.  But Ms. Condon’s reporting goes well beyond the immediate controversy and […]

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