President Obama has signed off on the creation of a cyberczar, someone who will have access to the president and the broad authority to strategize on how to protect America's public and private networks, The Washington Post reports.
The big question remains unanswered: What role will the NSA have in monitoring and protecting private networks? And how open will the debate over that role be?
The issue is a key concern in policy circles, and experts say it requires a full and open debate over legal authorities and the protection of citizens' e-mails and phone calls. The Bush administration's secrecy in handling its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, most of which was classified, hindered such a debate, privacy advocates have said.
The adviser will have a complicated reporting structure. She'll be a member of the National Security Council but will report to both the national security adviser and the White House economic adviser. If that seems strange, there may be an inside-the-Beltway explanation:
It also indicates an effort to quell an internal political battle in which Lawrence H. Summers, the senior White House economic adviser, is pushing for the National Economic Council to have a key role in cybersecurity to ensure that efforts to protect private networks do not unduly threaten economic growth, the sources said.
The creation of the position is a result of Melissa Hathaway's 60-day review of cyber policies. Her report calls for public-private partnerships to protect private systems, incentives for private industry to better secure networks and using the procurement process to improve security.