WH to release details of previously classified cybersecurity rules

The White House on Tuesday plans to declassify excerpts of a secret cybersecurity policy drafted in 2008, in part to assuage fears that the administration is unprepared for a nationwide cyberattack.

Howard Schmidt, the Obama administration's top cybersecurity expert, will unveil the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative at a convention in San Francisco later Tuesday, according to reports. The White House will also publish key portions of the proposal on its official blog sometime in the afternoon.

The official release arrives at a time when both congressional lawmakers and industry experts are hammering the White House for a lack of leadership on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare.

Two high-profile attacks in the opening weeks of 2010 -- one primarily targeting Google, another targeting thousands of businesses around the world -- have only frustrated insiders, who charged the United States was without a framework to address emerging online threats.

But the Obama White House's decision to declassify portions of its Initiative, drafted during President George W. Bush's second term, seems to be an attempt to quiet those concerns -- at least until lawmakers take additional action.

According to The New York Times, which spoke with Schmidt about the Initiative, the policy is comprised of 12 programs, one of which deals with cyberwarfare. However, details on that provision in particular will not be available on the White House's Web site late Tuesday, Schmidt told the newspaper, citing national security concerns.

“I don’t think there will be any surprises,” he later told the Times. “Much of what has been going on has been what people would expect us to be doing.”