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Cybersecurity Director Resigns

March 9, 2009

On Friday, the U.S. government’s director of cybersecurity resigned, criticizing the excessive role of the National Security Agency in countering threats to the country’s computer systems.

“He has tendered his resignation,” Amy Kudwa, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told Reuters.

Rod Beckstrom, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, said in a resignation letter published by the Wall Street Journal that it was a “bad strategy” to have the National Security Agency play a major role in cybersecurity.

The National Cybersecurity Center was headed by Beckstrom last March, to coordinate all government cybersecurity efforts and answer to the Department of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security said that it has a strong relationship with NSA and works closely with all its partners to protect the country’s cyber networks.

On Thursday, Beckstrom wrote to Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, saying that the NSA currently dominates most the national cyber efforts.

“While acknowledging the critical importance of NSA to our intelligence efforts, I believe this is a bad strategy on multiple grounds,” he wrote in the letter posted by the Wall Street Journal on its website.

National Security Agency Officials were unavailable for immediate comment.

In Beckstrom’s letter, he said that the cybersecurity group did not receive adequate support to accomplish its role during the previous Bush administration, which only provided the center with five weeks of funding in the last year.

The letter said that his resignation will be effective March 13.

The Obama administration was conducting a 60-day review of the cybersecurity program, according to the news paper.

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