The White House's chief information security officer (CISO) Cory Louie has reportedly been removed from his position by the current administration. The circumstances surrounding Louie's departure remain a mystery, amid fears of the remaining cybersecurity staff, who until recently worked under Louie, may become targets of an alleged "witch hunt" against those appointed by the Obama administration, according to reports.
Louie, who was appointed CISO in 2015 by former president Obama, was charged with the ensuring that the White House's executive office, including the president, was kept safe from cyberthreats posed by state-sponsored attackers and hackers, according to reports.
Reports speculate that Louie was either fired or asked to resign on 2 February. He was escorted out of his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, right across the West Wing, ZDNet reported. Louie's departure was first reported by the Atlantic political and foreign policy reporter Steve Clemons, who took to Twitter to post a confirmation he received of Louie having been forced to resign.
There has been a "wall of silence" from the White House regarding the cybersecurity staff shakeup, writes ZDNet reporter Zack Whittaker. According to one unnamed source, the staff's silence on the matter is due to the remaining staff's fears of having "targets on their back". People are allegedly afraid to speak out since they see the recent actions as a "witch hunt" against former Obama administration appointees.
Some reportedly described the working environment in the White House as "toxic", while others speculated about Louie's forced departure as having been the result of accusations of poor management.
Louie was among the few who chose to remain at the White House as other former senior IT and cybersecurity staff quit when President Donald Trump took office. Those who left included former Federal CISO Gregory Touhill, former Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, and former White House IT Director David Recordon.
The White House and Louie are yet to comment on the matter. It is still unclear whether Louie's position has been filled upon his departure.