Cybersecurity chief quits after unusual contract expires


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration's cybersecurity chief, who worked under an unusual agreement with a private university that does extensive business with the office he manages, is leaving his job.

Donald "Andy" Purdy Jr. will step down as acting director of the National Cyber Security Division, part of the Department of Homeland Security. A government spokesman, Jarrod Agen, declined to comment on Purdy's plans, but colleagues circulated an invitation to his farewell party next week.

Purdy worked at Homeland Security under a two-year contract with Carnegie Mellon University that expires Oct. 3. Under the contract, the government paid Purdy $245,481 in salary and benefits each year, not including travel reimbursements; Carnegie Mellon paid him an additional $43,320 a year.

His contract drew congressional scrutiny after The Associated Press reported in June that Purdy's cybersecurity division has paid Carnegie Mellon $19 million in contracts this year, almost one-fifth the unit's total budget.

Purdy, who controlled a budget of about $107 million and as many as 44 full-time federal employees, said at the time he was not involved in discussions over his own office's business deals with the school.

Agen said Purdy's job was being converted to a full-time federal position -- which would pay an annual salary of about $130,000 -- but Agen could not say whether Purdy was a candidate for that job. He said the government was in the final stages of hiring Purdy's replacement.

Earlier this week, the government announced it has selected trade industry executive Greg Garcia as the department's new assistant secretary for cybersecurity and telecommunications. He will oversee the division and the hiring of Purdy's successor. Garcia did not respond to telephone messages from the AP.

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