Renegade Geek to Head Cyber Security

DHS taps outsider as Silicon Valley ambassador
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2008 2:45 PM CDT
Renegade Geek to Head Cyber Security
United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff talks to the media in this file photo. Beck will report directly to Chertoff.   (AP Photo/Filip Horvat)

Outre tech entrepreneur Rod Beckström will top the White House’s new secretive cyber security initiative, the Wall Street Journal reports, to the surprise of many Washington insiders. Beckström is a Silicon Valley transplant without security experience, but he has developed a cult following in the security and intelligence communities for his book The Starfish and the Spider, which favors decentralized management.

So far, Bush has revealed little about the effort Beckström, who'll report directly to DHS head Michael Chertoff, will lead. Journal sources say the goal is to secure government networks, and then transfer those techniques to the private sector. Beckström could prove a valuable ambassador for that second phase, because of the tech sector's mistrust of Washington. (More Rod Beckström stories.)

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