Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano swore in the sixteen members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) yesterday. Amongst them is Jeff Moss, the founder of the Black Hat and DEFCON hacking conventions.
Moss, who is known to his fellow hackers as "Dark Tangent," has a BA in Criminal Justice from Gonzaga University. His professional career involves working in the Information System Security division at Ernst & Young, LLP and being a director at Secure Computing Corporation, now part of McAfee.
According to its own charter (PDF), "The HSAC shall provide organizationally independent, strategic, timely, specific and actionable advice to the Secretary and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security." The appointed Chairman of the Council is former CIA and FBI Director Judge William Webster.
Just to get an idea of Dark Tangent's select company on the Council, here are some of its members: Leroy Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County; Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp and former chairman and principal officer of the American Red Cross; Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University; Manny Diazm, mayor of Miami and president of the United States Conference of Mayors; Raymond Kelly, police commissioner of the City of New York; Martin O’Malley, governor of Maryland; Joe Shirley, Jr., president of the Navajo Nation; Sonny Perdue, governor of Georgia.
"In order for the Secretary to fully leverage broad-ranging experience and education, the HSAC must be professionally, technically, and culturally diverse. These members shall all be national leaders found within diverse and appropriate professions and communities from around the Nation," is also noted in the HSAC charter. But, clearly no one thought that this would include hackers that played "spot the fed" every year at DEFCON.
Even world-renowned hacker and former FBI fugitive Kevin Mitnick declared himself surprised of the appointment of Jeff Moss on the Council and noted that he expected cryptography guru Bruce Schneier to be one of the people chosen. According to CNET, Moss said that he was "fantastically honored and excited to contribute."
"I congratulate the members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council on their appointments. As we work to fulfill the Department’s core mission of securing the country against the many threats it faces, the unique insights and expertise of this diverse council will be a valuable resource," said Secretary Napolitano at her first meeting with the new HSAC yesterday.