Senate panel advances Trump’s DHS cyber pick

Senate panel advances Trump’s DHS cyber pick
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection efforts advanced from a key Senate panel on Monday.

Senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Christopher Kreb’s nomination on Monday by a voice vote, according to a committee aide. His nomination will now go before the full Senate. 

Trump has tapped Krebs to serve as undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Homeland Security unit that protects civilian federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats.

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If confirmed, Krebs will manage a growing portfolio of responsibilities, which now includes protecting digital election systems from cyberattacks. NPPD takes the lead on engaging with owners and operators of critical infrastructure across a number of sectors, like finance and energy, in order to guard critical systems from threats. 

Krebs, a former DHS official during the George W. Bush administration, started working for NPPD last August and has since been fulfilling the role of undersecretary in an acting capacity. Trump formally nominated him for the post in February. Before that, he worked on Microsoft’s government affairs team.

Krebs had his confirmation hearing before the committee in late April, before lawmakers left on a weeklong recess. Senators from both parties expressed support for his nomination, signaling that his confirmation process would not be particularly contentious. 

Still, lawmakers have high demands for Krebs’s efforts on election security in particular, given Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. DHS officials disclosed last year that Moscow targeted digital election systems in 21 states as part of its larger plot to meddle in the vote. 

“It’s the end of April, and the election is quickly approaching,” Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Senate Dems lock in million in TV airtime MORE (D-Mo.), the committee’s ranking member, warned during his confirmation hearing.

It is unclear when the full Senate will vote on his nomination.