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White House cybersecurity coordinator Schmidt to retire

May. 17, 2012 - 01:14PM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments

White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt is retiring this month, a White House spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

Michael Daniel, chief of the Office of Management and Budget’s intelligence branch, will fill Schmidt’s position, according to Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council.

Schmidt’s retirement comes in the midst of a battle in Congress over how the nation’s most critical networks should be secured. The House last month passed cybersecurity legislation that the White House has threatened to veto. The Senate has two conflicting bills. One, introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., promotes information sharing between private owners of critical networks and the government; the other, introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would require certain companies operating the nation’s electric grid, water supply and other critical systems to meet cybersecurity standards approved and enforced by the Department of Homeland Security.

A year ago, Schmidt led efforts in crafting an administrative cybersecurity proposal, which addresses the need for data breach reporting by companies, information sharing between critical infrastructure operators and government, and DHS’ role in cybersecurity. The administration has publicly backed Lieberman’s bill and agrees that companies should meet minimum security standards.

Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft security executive, also served as White House cybersecurity special adviser under President George W. Bush.

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