Homeland Security Names New Cyber Chief

Amit Yoran,

Andy Purdy, who was Yoran's deputy, was named the interim U.S. cybersecurity director. He becomes the fourth to hold the post in less than two years. Previously, Richard Clarke and Howard Schmidt also held the position.

Yoran left amid reports that he was frustrated with the position's lack of authority and limited budget.

A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would add clout to the post by elevating the cybersecurity position within Homeland Security to the Assistant Secretary level, one step removed from Secretary Tom Ridge. The House bill was on the floor mid-day Friday, but a vote had not yet been cast.

Industry representatives are pushing for the bill's passage.

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"We need a full time government official at a sufficiently high level in the Department of Homeland Security focused solely on cybersecurity with the clout to take America's information infrastructure off of the table for terrorists," said Harris Miller, the president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). "Yoran's decision to leave after one year suggests that the current post of national cyber security director does not carry enough weight to get the job done."

When Yoran resigned on one day's notice, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a sponsor of the provision to bump up the seniority of the cybersecurity director, said in a statement, "This only reinforces the need to elevate the position of Director of the NCSD to an assistant secretary within the DHS. This is the only way to put our efforts to protect cyberspace back on track."