On Wednesday July 14, 2010, US Cyber Security Coordinator Howard Schmidt convened a hastily called meeting of around 100 public and private sector security experts at the White House to explain the progress he has made in the six months since he joined the administration. I was there. In an unexpected and exciting surprise, President Obama stopped by the meeting and spoke for 15-20 minutes.
Here is a picture I took of President Obama addressing the meeting. Howard Schmidt is to the far left. Beside him is Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Undersecretary Phil Reitinger. The moment President Obama entered the meeting was electric. Attendees immediately stood and gave him an ovation. The room was energized, and the President’s charisma was palpable. I, for one, was proud to be there.
In addition to remarks from President Obama and Howard Schmidt, the meeting was addressed by two cabinet Secretaries—Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS, and Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce. The invitation-only event included members of the Administration, state and local government officials, law enforcement officers, select industry executives, academics and representatives from privacy and civil liberties groups. Attendees who I know included Matt Blaze, Carl Landwehr, Ed Amoroso, Marc Rotenberg, Eugene Spafford, Mischel Kwon, and John Savage.
I wrote up my thoughts on the meeting in an informIT article “Obama Highlights Cyber Security Progress: Private Sector Security Experts Convene at the White House to Discuss the National Cyber Securiy Agenda.”