Key homeland security deputies appointed
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The new homeland security director officially appointed two top lieutenants to protect against domestic terrorism. One will combat cyber attacks, and the other will serve as President Bush's main adviser on global matters related to terrorism.
Bush's homeland security czar, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, joined National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to make the announcements Tuesday at a government office building next to the White House.
Richard Clarke, already on the National Security Council as a special adviser for cyber security, will take over a new post in charge of combating cyber terrorism and protecting essential information networks.
"Protecting this information is critically important. Shut them down and you shut down America as we know it," said Ridge, who officially assumed his new post Monday.
Clarke will head up efforts to safeguard information systems, which includes transportation, communications, power utilities, industries, water and health systems, banking and finance, and emergency services organizations.
Should a crisis take place, Clarke will be the lead coordinator to bring vital systems back online. "Our very way of life depends on the secure and safe operations of critical systems that depend on cyberspace," Clarke told reporters.
'A leader who understands terrorism'
Retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing, an expert on counterterrorism, was tapped as deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism
Working with military and intelligence resources, Downing will advise the president on efforts intended to detect and disrupt international terrorist organizations, according to the White House.
Downing authored a report highly critical of military security measures after a 1996 bombing killed 19 U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia. His study suggested that the U.S. government consider terrorism "an undeclared war against the United States."
Ridge called Downing "a leader who understands terrorism, how terrorists are organized and what it takes to defeat them."
Retired since 1996, Downing said he had enjoyed his more relaxed life. Work consisted in large part of fine-tuning his trout-fishing technique in Colorado.
He had resisted earlier pleas that he return to public office, but this time around he said he "was happy to be asked to get back into this fray."
Downing said he would not have returned unless there was a national emergency. "It is a national emergency," he said.
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