White House Cybersecurity Chief Quits, Says Trump Admin. Is Inviting An Attack
After Russian hackers breached White House computers in 2014, former President Barack Obama established the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (OCISO) to prevent another such occurrence.
But according to White House computer security Chief Dimitrios Vistakis, who resigned his post earlier this month, the office is in disarray and faces extinction under President Donald Trump.
An internal memo obtained by Axios revealed that Vistakis deemed Trump administration practices “absurd” and accused the White House of “habitually being hostile” to office staff.
Such measures included withholding annual bonuses and forcing employees to quit by limiting the scope of their positions.
All of this puts the White House in danger of suffering another breach, Vistakis warned, which has not occurred since the OCISO was created.
“They say that history repeats itself,” he wrote. “Unfortunately given all of the changes I’ve seen in the past three months, I foresee the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again.”
Vistakis continued: “Allowing for a large portion of institutional knowledge to concurrently walk right out the front door seems contrary to the best of interests of the mission and organization as a whole.”
The former chief also said the White House’s metric for determining the mission and success of the office is “absurd”:
“Also of concern is the metric leadership is leveraging to gauge success of the cybersecruity program. Measuring the success of your security staff by the frequency major compromises are identified versus the duration of time since the last compromise is absurd.”
One White House source familiar with the situation told Axios: "You have an entire section who’s dedicated to providing counter threat intelligence information" adding, "if you remove that, it’s like the Wild West again."