White House Cybersecurity Chief Reportedly Fired – Is There a New Cybersecurity Team?
Following reports of President Trump still using his unsecured Android phone, fresh reports confirm that the new administration has also removed Cory Louie, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at the White House, from his position.
No one on the seat to make sure Trump doesn’t get hacked
The White House Chief Officer of Information Security has reportedly been removed, and it isn’t immediately clear if Louie’s vacated position was filled. ZDNet reports that Louie “was either fired or asked to resign last Thursday evening, and was escorted out from his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the West Wing.”
Louie was appointed by former President Obama in 2015 and carries an extensive experience working with security teams at places like Google and Dropbox and has also served as a special agent for the US Secret Service. One of his primary responsibilities as the White House chief of information security was to keep the president, and the staff closest to the president, safe from cyber threats by hackers and sophisticated nation-state threat actors.
The White House CISO is charged with the security of all White House internal networks, communications, device, and data security.
The news was first reported by The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons. However, neither the White House nor Louie has commented publicly on why exactly he left – or was made to leave – the position. Several others in senior IT roles had already vacated their positions following the transition of power to the new administration, including Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott and former White House IT Director David Recordon. However, Louie had remained on his position as the White House CISO.
“Near-absolute wall of silence”
While Louie is believed to have been fired or asked to resign last Thursday evening, the spokesperson for the White House is yet to confirm or deny the reports.
ZDNet reported that “there has been a near-absolute wall of silence from the White House – from both the staff, which up until last week worked for Louie, and spokespeople for the Trump administration.”
One source said it’s because the remaining staff have “targets on their back” and are afraid of speaking out, calling the actions a “witch hunt” for former Obama appointees. Accusations of poor management were said to be reasons or excuses for his forced departure amid what was described as a “toxic” working environment.
It is likely that the White House has already appointed replacements. However, sudden dismissals and openly sloppy cybersecurity practices in the past few weeks raise concerns. President Trump is now using a secure, locked down device, however, he also continues to use his old and unprotected Android phone to tweet. He isn’t the only one having trouble with security practices, as press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted one of his passwords and accidentally forgot to clear the registration data on his website.
With Louie out of job, White House staff, President Trump, and people working closer to him may already be vulnerable to targeted cyber attacks.