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Howard Schmidt returns to government
Ted Bridis, The Associated Press 2004-10-06

Howard Schmidt, a highly regarded technology executive who was former special adviser to President Bush for cybersecurity, is returning to work with the Homeland Security Department on efforts to protect the nation's computer networks.

Schmidt, the chief security officer for eBay Inc., will be named chairman of the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team, an organization jointly run by the Homeland Security Department and private technology groups, including Carnegie Mellon University. He will work with the technology industry on U.S. cybersecurity policies.

The announcement was expected Monday in San Francisco, according to officials who met Wednesday for a briefing about the announcement with Schmidt and Robert Liscouski, an assistant secretary at the Homeland Security Department. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity, noting the DHS announcement was next week.

Schmidt, who will be paid through Carnegie Mellon as a government contractor, was expected to remain at eBay. As Bush's former special adviser, Schmidt helped create the administration's "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace," a set of dozens of recommendations to better protect computer networks.

"It's great he's willing to come back to public service," said Harris Miller, head of the Information Technology Association of America, a leading trade group.

Last week, the Bush administration's top U.S. cybersecurity official, Amit Yoran, resigned abruptly as director of the National Cyber Security Division within DHS. The office to be headed by Schmidt is the operational arm of that division, which has an $80 million budget and 60 employees.

Liscouski has appointed Donald A. "Andy" Purdy, Yoran's former deputy, as acting director of the division. In an e-mail from Liscouski to DHS employees obtained by The Associated Press, Lisouski said Purdy was "highly regarded for his technical expertise and is well-known to the cyber community both in the private and government sectors."

Schmidt declined to comment when contacted by the AP, referring inquires to DHS.

Schmidt formerly was chief security officer at Microsoft Corp. before coming to work for the White House. He succeeded Richard Clarke, a former senior counterterrorism adviser to President Bush who quit and wrote a book containing scathing criticisms of the administration's response to terrorism.

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