Schmidt back as DHS adviser; Yoran bows out

Howard Schmidt

Howard Schmidt, a former Bush administration cybersecurity adviser, is returning to government as a consultant to the Homeland Security Department.

A DHS official said Schmidt will work for the Computer Emergency Readiness Team Coordination Center, acting as an IT security adviser to DHS. CERT is a federally funded R&D center run by Carnegie Mellon University.

Schmidt had left his White House job in April last year, just as DHS officially opened, to join Internet retailer eBay Inc. as its vice president for security.

He returns to DHS following the abrupt resignation of Amit Yoran as the department's cybersecurity director, though his job does not supplant Yoran's. Andy Purdy, deputy cybersecurity director, reportedly will take over as interim director of DHS' National Cyber Security Division.

Yoran submitted his resignation Sept. 30, effective the next day, just days after controversy erupted over a provision inserted into the House intelligence reform bill that would have moved responsibility for cybersecurity from DHS to the Office of Management and Budget. House leaders yanked the provision, and congressional representatives claimed it was a misunderstanding.

On the heels of Yoran's departure, however, representatives from the House Government Reform, Homeland Security, Judiciary and Science committees met last week and hammered out a new version that, among other things, would raise the directorship to the level of assistant secretary within DHS. Critics, however, doubted the measure would pass.

David Marin, a spokesman for House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), said House committees have agreed to address gaps in the government's ability to handle information sharing and information security responsibilities.

The revised bill promotes 'the sharing of intelligence information in a manner consistent with national security and the protection of privacy and civil liberties,' Marin said.

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