Last updated: November 28, 2012 - 9:05am
The White House’s strategy on cybersecurity: Co-opt the opposition.
The Obama administration is crafting an executive order designed to keep the country’s most important digital systems safe from hackers and spies. So the White House is bringing in key players for meetings now — getting early input that the feds hope will make any new rules easier to enforce and voluntary pieces more likely to produce results. “We kicked off a robust sort of outreach, and I would almost frame it as a listening session tour over the past couple months,” said Michael Daniel, cybersecurity coordinator at the White House. He acknowledged the effort is “highly unusual” for an executive order, but a necessary process on cybersecurity “due to the important role all of these partners are going to play, to carry out what we’re trying to achieve.” Many of the administration-led meetings have been with the operators of power plants, water systems, key financial sector assets and other businesses that would be impacted directly by an executive order, sources told POLITICO.
Top tech trade groups, including the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents companies like Apple and Google, had their own sessions, as did public-interest groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology. Even the recalcitrant U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a fierce opponent of the administration’s plans — met with top Obama cyber advisers at the end of last month. Together, the meetings are but a page from the playbook already guiding the Administration’s efforts on the fiscal cliff and other high-profile policy pushes that have failed to clear a Congress still overwhelmed by partisan obstruction.
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