White House Cybersecurity Boss — Who Argued Against Overhyping Threats — Resigns

from the too-bad dept

There’s been a lot of attention lately on various “cybersecurity” bills making their way through Congress, and the White House’s role in the debate has been pretty important. So it’s interesting to see that the White House’s cybersecurity czar, Howard Schmidt, has announced that he’s resigning. While I don’t always agree with Schmidt, he was one of the few (perhaps only?) high level government officials talking about online security issues who seemed willing to avoid hyperbole. In fact, he actually hit back against those who kept talking about “cyberwar,” saying there was no such thing and it was “a terrible concept.” One hopes that his successor, Michael Daniel, will be similarly willing to push back against the rush of hype around “cybersecurity.”

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Comments on “White House Cybersecurity Boss — Who Argued Against Overhyping Threats — Resigns”

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Jay (profile) says:

Not good

The US has lost Thomas Drake, William Binney, and a number of whistleblowers that spoke up as well as instill a $1.7 billion dollar massive spy ring in terms of the NSA Utah project. Honestly, the chances of Michael Daniel coming into this situation and wanting to change the system are very few. The “establishment” has spoken. The ones that speak up and don’t go for the scare mongering are going to be the ones that are thrown out. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually Howard Schmidt, like Robert Gates, doesn’t start speaking up about how the government is truly corrupted in this regard.

I truly hope I’m wrong, but the signs for Michael Daniel being as moderate as Howard are very slim IMO.

Anonymous Coward says:

The term “cyber” anything is pure science-fiction bulls*** developed by devious but clueless a**holes playing on the fears of the equally clueless masses.

It makes me want to puke that people can be so f***king stupid.

It has about as much to do with reality as the moon being made of green cheese.

If you use the term “cyber” anything you are either a scaremonger with an agenda or a complete utter dumb fool.

Mr. Smarta** (profile) says:


One hopes that his successor, Michael Daniel, will be similarly willing to push back against the rush of hype around “cybersecurity.”

That’s doubtful. Slowly but surely they’re getting rid of all the voices that oppose the White House’s socialist agenda. No doubt the administration made things so hard on Howard Schmidt because of his stance and they intend to control Michael Daniel with a clentched fist. He’ll fall to the regime that will eventually lead to the US becoming socialist and it’s people so tightly controlled that nobody will have any privacy even in their own homes and minds, and every American will be forced to have a camera in every corner in their house and pointed at their beds to make sure they aren’t terrorists. Every trip starts with the first step, and censorship/slavery is where it all starts.

… Is it a conspiracy theory if they really are out to do it??

Cowardly Anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: Doubtful

Somewhat incorrect, Socialism is actually the paradigm this country has used since around the turn of the century. It consists of a fundamentally capitalist structure with communistic support of those who end up at the bottom of the curve. Welfare, social security, enforced insurance and workers unions are all socialist in nature.

Communism is what happens when the capitalistic forms are removed. It is government taking direct control of the market and has always been oppressive in all iterations where it remains pure.

Capitalism is what happens when governments remain entirely separated from companies. It is the license for a company to do whatever it desires with its workers and has always been oppressive in all iterations where it remains pure.

Mercantilism is what happens when governments work for the benefit of companies. It consists of monopolistic policies and similarly drives oppression through imperialism.

Fascism is the result of militarizing the economic sector. Like mercantilism, it is imperialistic and a drives oppression in this manner.

We are currently dealing with a government that corrupts towards Mercantilism and Fascism. Note that this is not driven by conspiratorial forces, but rather by the nature of a quick buck. The presence of and legality of unions pressures against pure capitalism and hold-over from extensive propaganda campaigns pressures against pure communism.

Anti-fascist sentiments run stronger than anti-mercantilist sentiments and mercantilists are better at generating income which has placed them in a stronger position.

The take-away: any extreme system that is not built on a balance of differing forces will tend towards oppression. The focus should be on preventing oppressive regimes, rather than lauding one form over another, as we need to draw from all forms if we are to sustain freedom.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Doubtful

1984 is not really what I would term as a “socialist” state. It is statist to the extreme with very strong communism-similarities, but actually “socialist” has its core in helping the poor get jobs which takes a stronger government to cut out too many middlemen, as opposed to help the rich create jobs which is ironically called “liberal conservative”.
That is pretty far from what the book describes.

A totalitarian state is a micromanaging state to the extreme and it is honestly the better description of the world in George Orwells novel.
Totalitarianism is according to both true oldschool conservatives and communists, but most other democratic ideologies are far removed from that.

A lot of politics around the world seems to be suffering from exactly the same problems: Too powerful and undemocratic administratons, too much economic pressure (lobbying and binding economic support for politicians) and not enough openness in procedures.
It does not matter at all who you vote for. The problem is in the system and it does not go away by switching voodoo-doll.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Doubtful

please don’t use the word socialist like that. The US has 2 parties, both are right of centre. You have no centre party let alone a left of centre or ‘socialist’. There are many countries in the world that are run by socialist or left of centre governments that are a lot freer than the US.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Doubtful

Is it a conspiracy theory if they really are out to do it??

Technically, yes. “Conspiracy theory” means a hypothesis of conspiratorial actions. It says nothing about how accurate that hypothesis is.

If by “they” you mean “the government”, then there is zero indication that “they’re” out to do that. However, there are several private-sector efforts to do exactly that, so if by “they” you mean private-sector corporations, then yes, they are out to do it.

By the way, if you think the current administration is even remotely socialist, then you either misunderstand what socialism is or you aren’t paying attention to what the administration has been doing.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘One hopes that his successor, Michael Daniel, will be similarly willing to push back against the rush of hype around “cyber security.’

dont be so bloody ridiculous! the reason he’s been given the job is because he is a ‘yes man’, just doing as he’s told. the real question to ask is who stands to gain the most financially when whatever ‘cyber security’ bill is introduced? what’s the betting the chances are it will be some senator?

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

The timing of this is suspicious

Coming as it does in the midst of hysterical OMG!OMG!CYBERWAR fear-mongering, I have to wonder if perhaps this was more the result of a push than a jump. We’ll know soon enough, once we see if the WH position on nonsense like CISPA shifts.

It’s one of the great ironies of our time that climate change — which, unlike cyberwar is actually real and is actually an existential threat to the United States — is still being denied by some and explained away by others, while greedy government contractors hyping fabricated threats in order to line their own pockets are getting serious attention from Congress.

ThumbsUpThumbsDown says:

What makes the Queen a King?

Persistent in these facts is the Idea that the “real” powers have spoken on the coming trend in Cybersecurity and
whoever wants to head a relevant federal agency had better show up ready to say “yes” to the conventional beaurocratic wisdom or learn to fly unceremoniously out the window.

Of course, the “done deal” that shows up in the American legislative tea leaves is yet another indistinguishable version of PIPA, SOPA, ACTA, CISPA or Six Strikes….In short, yet one more repackage of assorted nullifications of American Constitutional and Civil Liberties….things like broad grants of Immunity to govermental and Private agencies for damages inflicted on innocents; conversion of Presumption of Innocence into (cough, cough) rebuttable presumption of guilt; rechartering of National Security Agencies to operate within the United States with American Citizens as legitimate subjects of investigation; expansion of government and private party actions that can be taken prior to or without warrant; incorporation in written law of the effectiveness of Commercial TOS waivers as dispositive for the waiver of Constitutionally protected rights.

Took a lot of Balls to present the American People with these already known bundles of nullifications of their Civil and Constitutional Rights….Will take even less brains to offer up the next pretty package with these same traps restated….

Yet,if these “powers that be” were so powerful and unopposable, don’t you think they could have saved themselves from the public bitch-slapping the American People gave them the first time around in the matters of PIPA, SOPA, ACTA, CISPA?

The special interest beneficiaries of these laws don’t just “want” Immunity from Liability….They desperately NEED Immunity from liability….and the American People said, very LOUDLY….”NO! You cant’t have Immunity from Liability!”


Because the next Public Bitch-Slapping is going to send the political hacks who protect these special Interests permenantly into the closet in a coma.

HypnoBlogger (user link) says:


If the government doesn’t overstate and inflate “threats”… how can they possibly justify the abuse of its citizens? The TSA is one HUGE example… REALLY?! Per an earlier article… DHS is doing patdowns at proms? MY TAX dollars are going for that?!

It’s like everyone in the government has some form of Tourette syndrome…

“Think of the children!”

“Terror threats!”

and now…

“Cyber Threats!”

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