The Trump administration has eliminated the position of cyber policy adviser, the top White House cybersecurity role that aimed to help streamline the government’s overall approach to cybersecurity policy across federal agencies, Politico reported Tuesday.
The decision to eliminate the position, which was described by the White House as an effort to “streamline authority” for top officials working on the National Security Council (NSC), comes as the U.S. continues to face multiple cyber threats, including ongoing efforts by Russia to interfere in elections.
U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that Russia will attempt to meddle in the 2018 contests after doing so during the 2016 presidential campaign.
John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, had reportedly been looking to end the position.
“The role of cyber coordinator will end,” Christine Samuelian, an aide to Bolton, reportedly said an email to NSC staffers.
Citing a quote from Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 70, Samuelian said “eliminating another layer of bureaucracy delivers greater ‘decision, activity, secrecy and despatch,’” Politico reported.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) blasted the decision 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.”
“Here’s the point: we should be investing in our nation’s cyber defense, not rolling it back. We also need to articulate a clear cyber doctrine. 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,” Mark Warner (D-Va.) tweeted.