The Trump Admin Just Opened the Door to More Russian Cyber-Attacks—and Cybersecurity Experts Are Outraged

The Trump administration has eliminated the White House’s top cyber-policy job—a key position created during the Obama years to coordinate the government’s overall approach to cybersecurity policy and digital warfare.

The move was spearheaded by John Bolton, Trump’s new national security advisor—a move that many experts and former government officials criticized as a major step backward for federal cybersecurity policy.

On Tuesday, a co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), rebuked Bolton for eliminating the position:

We have had three excellent cybersecurity coordinators since the late, great Howard Schmidt originated the position. It is an enormous step backwards to deemphasize this growing challenge.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also blasted the idea on Tuesday:

I don’t see how getting rid of the top cyber official in the White House does anything to make our country safer from cyber threats.

And Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement,

With cyber threats ever-changing and growing more sophisticated by the day, there is no logical reason to eliminate this senior position and reduce the already degraded level of cyber expertise at the White House.

Rob Joyce, who held the position until his resignation last week, joins several other national security officials who have left the White House recently. Joyce previously led an elite hacking group known as the Tailored Access Operations Unit. According to Politico, cyber policy experts, lawmakers, and former officials had urged Trump to replace Joyce and not to abolish the position.

The cyber coordinator led a team of directors and senior directors who worked with agencies to develop a unified strategy for issues like election security and digital deterrence. The coordinator also represented the administration in meetings with foreign partners and at conferences and other public events.

Tom Bossert, who served as Trump’s top homeland security aide, also resigned earlier this month. He had been the one to announce just last year that Joyce would be joining the counsel as its cybersecurity coordinator. The departures of both Bossert and Joyce spurred concerns about the White House’s cyber-policy.

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