Senator Collins (R-ME) has asked Melissa Hathaway, acting senior director for cyberspace at the White House, for a copy of her resignation letter. Senator Collins, a senior ranking member on the Senator Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, has also requested that her staff members interview Hathaway regarding why she is leaving the Obama Administration.
Hathaway is a former Bush Administration cyber official and sited personal reasons for her resignation, effective August 24st. Hathaway also told reporters after her announcement,”I wasn’t willing to continue to wait any longer because I’m not empowered right now to continue to drive the change.”
Senator Collins took Hathaway’s resignation as an opportunity to criticize the lack of authority of the cyber coordinator position. Following Hathaway’s announcement, Senator Collins said, “Melissa Hathaway’s departure underscores the continued lack of leadership within the Obama administration on cyber security issues. The administration should take this time to reconsider the merits of putting a cyber czar within the White House — with no operational authority and shielded from congressional oversight.” Senator Collins added that “[Hathaway’s] extremely knowledgeable — one of the most knowledgeable people in the federal government.”
At the 60-Day Cyberspace Review, which Melissa Hathaway headed in May, President Obama announced a new cyber coordinator position. Insiders had named Microsoft’s Scott Charney, Good Harbor Consulting’ Paul Kurtz and Melissa Hathaway as ideal candidates for the top cyber spot. Since Hathaway’s resignation,Howard Schmidt, former White House special adviser for cyberspace security, and Frank Kramer, an assistant Defense secretary under President Clinton, have been named as potential candidates for the White House cyber coordinator position.