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Davis: 'Probably Not' on Cyber Czar

Amy Gardner

Tom Davis, the former Republican congressman from Fairfax County and now a director with Deloitte's Federal Government Services division, said he (probably) won't take a job as President Obama's new cyber security czar.

Although Davis prefaced his remarks by saying, "Never say never," he said the job's scope and authority are too uncertain. He also said he is pretty darn happy at Deloitte, where, presumably, he makes a little more than he did in Congress (and than he would as cyber czar).

"If I were going to stay in government, I think I would have stayed in Congress," Davis said. "I wish them well."

Davis's name has been circulated as a contender for the new cyber czar position, but he declined to say whether he is in conversations with the White House. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in an email today that there's no announced timetable for filling the position, and he wrote, "We aren't going to go into who is and who isn't a candidate."

The new position is considered crucial to coordinate a broad policy to secure government computer networks, but it is also viewed with skepticism by some who wonder what authority the new czar will have to promote legislation and navigate the federal bureaucracy.

Davis has been described in various media as an ideal candidate not only because of his popularity on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, but also because of his extensive background in information technology issues. One article in Wired Magazine, though, took Davis to task for standing "on the wrong side" of some "key" privacy issues, including his support of REAL ID, an effort to turn state driver's licenses into national identification cards.

Davis wrote the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and was chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy. He was also chairman of the influential House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and has a long history working with IT corporations in his old district, the 11th, in Northern Virginia.

Davis said the idea of working for a Democrat gave him no pause, and he applauded President Obama for creating the job. "This is such a nonpartisan deal. It needs to be done."

By Amy Gardner  |  June 26, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Barack Obama  
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