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By | Ashlee Vance 4th January 2006 08:09

Former cyber security chief tapped as new CEO of spook op

In-Q-Tel Yoran he's been hired

The spookiest venture capital firm on the planet has hired a new CEO.

In-Q-Tel - the CIA's venture capital unit - has tapped Amit Yoran as the successor to Gilman Louie, according to a report in the Washington Business Journal. The well-credentialed Yoran previously served as the first head of cyber security for the Department of Homeland Security. He also founded security specialist Riptech, which was sold to Symantec in 2002.

A quick search for Yoran turns up some stories declaring him as "the most powerful man in cyberspace" and others questioning whether "we can trust the cyber tsar". These headlines relate to Yoran's days at the haplessly named Department of Homeland Security, and the underlying stories often include anecdotes about a young Yoran opting to wear ties to school and expressing a strong love for Reagan in his youth. Whether or not an Alex P. Keaton clone is evil depends on your perspective.

Yoran left the DHS post after just one year on the job, saying he wanted to - all together now - spend more time with his family and find a way to re-enter the private sector.

As head of In-Q-Tel, Yoran will get to spearhead funding meant to help the snoops at Langley do their jobs. One recent report says that In-Q-Tel is "helping cultivate nearly three dozen young firms specializing in one or more of the following: search, categorization, collaboration and publishing; application integration; visualization; translation; geospatial intelligence; and design, simulation and modeling."

Louie began looking for a replacement last year. In-Q-Tel is expected to announce this move on Wednesday. ®

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