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By Keith Johnson
Wall Street Journal
April 13, 2009
The whole country is now worried about the specter of cyber attacks that
will bring down the electricity grid. Big Oil is worried about another
kind of cybersecurity: eavesdropping.
Exxon spent $222,985 last year on security for chairman and chief
executive Rex Tillerson. The bulk of that went for standard-issue stuff:
a car and driver, and residential security. But just over $9,000
apparently went for his phones, listed in Exxon=E2=80=99s proxy statement as
security expenses =E2=80=9Cfor mobile phones and other communications equipment
for conducting business in a secure manner.=E2=80=9D
Securing high-level conversations in an age where everybody has a
cellphone has become something of a national obsession. After he won the
election, President Obama warned handlers would have to =E2=80=9Cpry=E2=80=9D his
Blackberry out of his hands; he eventually was equipped with a special
secure phone rigged up by the National Security Agency.
But corporate chieftains=E2=80=94especially globe-trotting oil execs=E2=80=93can=E2=80=99t live
in a communications-free bubble, which would explain Exxon=E2=80=99s expenditure
on Mr. Tillerson=E2=80=99s secure mobile phones.
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