Brief summary: Andrew McLaughlin is Deputy White House CTO, and has been reprimanded by the White House for inappropriate relations with his former employer, Google. Due to a Google Buzz security hole, wide-eyed observers at Big Government noticed that McLaughlin was still very cozy with Google through his Gmail account. This led to a FOIA request for those emails, and now I’m reading them from an InsideGoogle.com release.
On to Part III of that release.
We begin with more commentary about the Haiti relief efforts, and particularly about the prioritization (possibly secured by McLaughlin at the request of his former employer? I don’t know.) of efforts to secure power for the .ht domain servers on the island. But unlike that, all of this is fairly bland.
At least until we get to January 25, at which time there is an apparent push by the administration for relief workers to get Internet service from Haitian ISPs instead of securing their own connections and creating ad hoc networks to use them. I’d be interested to know if any Google-invested companies are involved with that, including possibly Clearwire.
And now moving on from Haiti. Another interesting bit of lobbying: Michael Terrell says he’d have used McLaughlin’s White House email address if he knew it, but regardless, he wants the White House to advocate their energy use tracking ideas. It doesn’t seem to use Google tech or make Google money, but it bears checking on that point whether Terrell was lobbying for the government to promote Google services.
And now back to Vint Cerf, who still seems to use his ex-Google people in the service of the White House as his own private concierge. On Feburary 7, 2010 he wants to set up a meeting about “beckstrom,” apparently referring to ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, as well as “IANA recompete.” Cerf, in addition to being a Google evangelist, is the chairman of the board of IANA. If he was making secret discussions about an expiring IANA contract, and perhaps even trying to get a non-competitive government contract for IANA, how can that possibly be ethical? I’m no expert on these laws but might it even be illegal? I honestly don’t know, but I hope someone who does can at least check on this.
February 12, McLaughlin appears to be on the job, but asking Google friends if they know people doing “online video tech” “that can help derive meaningful outputs from a massive sea of raw videos.” Is he looking for information only, or is he wanting to give Google-friendly companies a competitive advantage for a future government contract?
And the last email of the batch: McLaughlin is disappointed that his Google Buzz contacts exposed. Laughably though, he tells Alan Davidson that he doesn’t contact “you people,” but we know he routinely does just that. He’s even had correspondence with Davidson personally in this set of emails! But, they play the wounded victims.
Unfortunately I didn’t come out of these last emails with many definitive statements. But I think these emails do raise many questions that need proper context filled in. But after reading the whole set, I have to conclude that McLaughlin’s behavior clearly looks corrupt and makes it very hard for the rest of us to trust what that what he does from here on out is unbiased.
Frankly, he should be fired.