VA general counsel resigns

Veterans Affairs Department general counsel Tim McClain has resigned, effective Sept. 1, to return to the private sector.

He is one of several VA officials to leave in the wake of the theft of sensitive data in May. McClain has been general counsel since 2001, a position in which he led 400 VA attorneys assigned throughout the nation.

'Tim McClain has been an integral part of VA's senior leadership team as our chief legal adviser, and I commend his dedicated service to our nation's veterans,' said VA secretary Jim Nicholson in a statement.

'It has been an honor to serve President Bush,secretary Nicholson and our nation's heroes at VA,' McClain said.

However, his view of the authority the CIO should wield ran counter to that of lawmakers trying to shore up VA's information security. The House Veterans Affairs Committee, which was looking into the mammoth data theft, criticized McClain's interpretation of federal IT security law.

McClain concluded that the Federal Information Security Management Act does not require the department CIO to have authority over enforcement of IT security. VA secretary Nicholson has ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with federal security provisions and may delegate that authority to the department CIO, but it was not required or automatic, he said at the hearing last month.

Nicholson has since delegated information security authority, including enforcement, to the department CIO.

McClain, a veteran, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and earned his law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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