Obama's Tech Czar on Leave Amid FBI Probe
President Obama's ambitious tech strategy has suffered a setback with news that the his recently appointed IT czar is on leave from the White House following an FBI probe into his former office.
Former Washington, D.C. CTO Vivek Kundra, who was appointed Federal CIO last week, is not implicated in the investigation, which centers on a city employee and a technology consultant. Charges were lodged against the two men at a federal court hearing on Thursday as FBI agents finished searching the city's technology office.
The White House has not yet responded to a call from TheStreet.com. At this stage, no reason has been given for Kundra's absence, nor has their been any indication of when he will return.
Kundra's absence from the White House can hardly help Obama's grand IT agenda.The new president, who has had a tough time getting his Cabinet in place, must now do without Kundra's services at a time when his administration is preparing to roll out its technology masterplan. Obama wants to overhaul the U.S. health care system by allocating $10 billion a year over five years to build an electronic medical record system. Other planks of the strategy include making government data easily accessible online, making the research and development tax credit permanent, and extending broadband access to all Americans. With the U.S. tech sector hammered by a tough economy, the last thing American businesses want to see is Obama's right-hand-geek out of the picture for any period of time.
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