Obama appoints former Microsoft security chief new cybersecurity czar

Apple Online Store“It took seven months but President Obama has finally found someone to take the cybersecurity czar job no one wanted,” Kim Zetter reports for Wired.

“Howard Schmidt, a former Microsoft security executive and a one-time cybersecurity adviser to President George W. Bush, has been appointed to the position of cybersecurity coordinator, according to a White House announcement on Tuesday,” Zetter reports. “In his new position, he will be responsible for coordinating the federal government’s cybersecurity initiatives to secure government networks and U.S. critical infrastructures. This will include working with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that agencies have money allocated for cybersecurity priorities, and coordinating the government’s response to a major cyber incident or attack.”

“According to the Associated Press, Obama was directly involved in the selection of Schmidt, who was chosen after an extensive search,” Zetter reports. “But the announcement of Schmidt came with little fanfare on Tuesday and followed months of reports from other candidates that they either turned down the job or otherwise discouraged the White House from courting them.”

“Last May, Obama announced he was creating a new office to be led by a cybersecurity czar,” Zetter reports. “For nearly a year, however, he could find no one to take the job, due to what many viewed as its undesirable placement in the federal hierarchy.”

“Schmidt, Microsoft’s chief security officer until 2001, is the second former Microsoft executive to take a top federal cybersecurity position,” Zetter reports. “Last March, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Philip Reitinger to the position of deputy undersecretary of the department’s National Protections Program Directorate.”

“Reitinger was Microsoft’s chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist, a job that required him in part to help develop and implement strategies for enhancing the security of critical infrastructures,” Zetter reports. “In his new position, he oversees the protection of the government’s computer networks and works with the private sector to help secure critical infrastructures.”

Zetter reports, “There have been concerns about how the White House intends to address cybersecurity issues, particularly in the private sector, and protect civil liberties at the same time.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s next, Balloon Boy to head up NORAD?

Given their record in the security area, I don’t know why anybody would buy from them. – Richard A. Clarke, former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, commenting on Microsoft, February 17, 2005


  1. Reitinger was Microsoft’s chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist, a job that required him in part to help develop and implement strategies for enhancing the security of critical infrastructures.

    …and with a resume like that, he STILL got the job??

    I know the comments here will quickly devolve into pointless political bickering, but honestly, both GWB and Obama chose very unwisely when they picked this guy.

  2. And I like the part where they talk about their concern over “civil liberties”.

    Oh yes, let there be no doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is ever so very concerned about our civil liberties. He’s a real freedom-loving tyrant if there ever was one!

  3. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday, December 22, 2009 shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21.

    That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.

    Fifty-three percent (53%) of men Strongly Disapprove along with 39% of women. Most African-American voters (58%) Strongly Approve while most white voters (53%) Strongly Disapprove.

    Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans Strongly Disapprove as do 52% of unaffiliated voters. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats Strongly Approve.

    For the second straight day, the update shows the highest level of Strong Disapproval yet recorded for this President. That negative rating had never topped 42% before yesterday.

    Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. Fifty-six percent (56%) now disapprove.


  4. @Josh

    Gee, you spout ditto-headed Fox-based talking points so well.
    Do you ever think for yourself?

    All Obama needs to do is ban all Microsoft products from government use and go open-source. Linux and OpenOffice would be a good start. AND it would save money.

  5. it just seems we are making jobs up or just changing the name, so they can hook their friends up with jobs.
    “cybersecurity adviser”
    “cybersecurity czar”
    “cybersecurity coordinator”
    “deputy undersecretary of the department’s National Protections Program Directorate”

  6. Did anyone here have inside knowledge of how the pick was made? Maybe Obama pursued other people and they were will to work for a bankrupt country the dub-ya left for Obama to clean up. Quit spewing hate toward obama. Remeber it took Steve jobs nearly a decade to get apple back on it’s current track. Give obama a chance. He’s been on the job 11 months.

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