Obama’s Computer Security Czar Plays It Really Close to the Vest

His disappearing Web site was about as advanced as your MySpace page was in 2004.

If you were going to choose someone for the highly sensitive position of cyber-security chief for our nation, surely the two employers you'd least want to see on that person's résumé would be Microsoft and the Bush administration. Right? Well, apparently the Obama administration feels differently. On Dec. 22 the president announced, after a months-long search, that his choice for the job was Howard A. Schmidt of Issaquah, a man who held essentially the same position under W, and who prior to that had been chief security officer at Microsoft. Schmidt's tenure in Redmond was around the time the company was boasting of "promises kept" with its new Windows 2000 operating system—an OS that, you may recall, was massively overrun by the Code Red worm, among others, not long after its release. Indeed, some measure of Schmidt's personal view of online security may be found in the fact that the Web site of his own business was—until just a few days ago—completely blank. Today the site no longer even exists. Since leaving the Bush administration in 2003, Schmidt has been running a security consulting firm in Issaquah called R&H Security. He's been quoted by The New York Times and countless other news outlets over the years, and identified as the head of R&H. But when we went to the Web site for Schmidt's business last week, we found that he does not actually conduct any business there. Or provide information of any kind. With a top banner featuring a 10-year-old iMac (the big, bulbous, colored one) and various 1's and 0's, the site looked roughly like what an aspiring IT consultant from Des Moines might have ginned up in 1999. The home page featured the R&H logo; Schmidt's oft-used tagline about the country's need for a "mosaic of security"; and the phrase "Under Contruction" [sic]. Indeed every page at www.cyber-security.us—Contact, About Us, and News—was under construction. No PayPal buttons or interactive functions for Schmidt; his site was locked down tight. A few days after we posted a blog item about Schmidt's site, it was taken down entirely.

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