No 'situation' required for Situation Room meeting
March 13th, 2013
08:58 PM ET
10 years ago

No 'situation' required for Situation Room meeting

(CNN) – The meeting Wednesday between President Barack Obama and corporate bosses centered on a decidedly urgent topic, cybersecurity, but the meeting itself wasn't designed to respond to any particular threat.

So why did it take place in the White House Situation Room, normally reserved for the president's national security team?

It's all a matter of space, the White House said.

"I know it sounds super cool, but as those of you who are familiar with the West Wing (know), it is an amazingly small space. And when the Roosevelt Room is occupied with a meeting … at the same time, the options are few for a meeting of any size that would exceed, say, my office," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained Wednesday.

"We have meetings there on occasion on different topics that are not related to national security issues or classified matters," he added later.

One of the executives meeting with Obama, Honeywell CEO David Cote, said afterward that "it was pretty cool to be in there."

And while there wasn't a particular threat on the table, computer hacking poses a "consistent, persistent threat" to U.S. companies, Cote said.

"It's not like there's some big thing that we're all having to work on right now, so I think you can put that out of your mind," continued Cote, a regular at meetings between the president and business executives.

"Everybody's very interested in the idea of cybersecurity," Cote told reporters after the meeting. "We learned that all of us are equally concerned about it. This is a great place for government and business to work together."

The fact that the cyber playing field is so new and evolving so fast should concern the whole country, Cote said, and recent actions from the Obama administration reflect that concern.

"Just having this meeting I think is huge," he said. "And the fact that they issued the executive order is a big deal and the attempt to get legislation in the past is an indication that there's a recognition," of the seriousness of the threat.

The president signed an executive order last month to increase information-sharing and to help the private sector develop standards.

A White House official said Obama convened the meeting "to demonstrate the importance he and his administration place on the issue of cybersecurity."

The official said that among the topics discussed was the need for legislation addressing cyberthreats.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. PJ

    Re-read the article, apparently it happened on Wed.
    So why the old picture?
    Ticker, you confuse me more every day.

    March 13, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Republicans should call for a special commission to investigate this obviously outrageous transgression in leadership! Republicans should block the nomination for Federal Librarian to make the President answer to some mindless, lap-dog to the Tea Party rather than get on with the functioning of our government. Surely Rand Paul is willing to filibuster!

    March 13, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. jack878

    The socialist in a room full of business man, that explains the look of total contemp on Obama's face.

    March 13, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. db

    Hmmmm, must have had Obama in mind when he said this:

    "One picture is worth 1,000 denials."
    --Ronald Reagan---

    March 13, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  5. facists4cnn

    Obama has become a circus clown with his pants around his ankles..... he now needs to resort to using the "situation" room to impress private industry – seriously awesome photo op, to bad he was a no show for Benghazi.

    March 13, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |