Obama near choosing cyber security chief: source

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 9, 2009 3:19pm EDT

The National Security Agency (NSA) logo is shown on a computer screen inside the Threat Operations Center at the NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland, January 25, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The National Security Agency (NSA) logo is shown on a computer screen inside the Threat Operations Center at the NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland, January 25, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A cyber security coordinator is expected to be announced by President Barack Obama in the next week or two, and the lead candidate is Frank Kramer, who was an assistant Defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, a source said on Wednesday.

The source, who has direct knowledge of the matter, asked not to be named because of its sensitive nature.

U.S. chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra told reporters at a technology conference on Wednesday that he had interviewed candidates for the position, and that a coordinator would be named in the not too distant future.

Chopra said Chris Painter, a former FBI cyber security specialist, was acting coordinator.

Melissa Hathaway, who led a 60-day White House review of cyber policies, resigned in August. A holdover from the Bush administration, Hathaway has said she withdrew her application for the position out of frustration over the administration's delays in filling the post.

Obama had promised in May that he would personally decide who would become cyber security coordinator to lead the fight against cyber crime.

Holes in U.S. cyber security have allowed thefts of identities, money, intellectual property and corporate secrets, as well as sensitive military information and penetration of the U.S. electrical grid.

The Pentagon is considering creating a command dedicated to cyberspace, under the auspices of U.S. Strategic Command.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and John Poirier)

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