Buttigieg's cybersecurity chief leaves campaign

Buttigieg's cybersecurity chief leaves campaign
© Getty Images

The top cybersecurity official on former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention MORE’s presidential campaign has resigned. 

Mick Baccio, who served as Buttigieg’s chief information security officer, told the news outlet CyberScoop that he left the campaign earlier this month due to “fundamental philosophical differences with the campaign management regarding the architecture and scope of the information security program.”

Baccio’s resignation comes amid renewed concerns of foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. elections. Just this week, The New York Times reported that Russian military officials hacked the Ukrainian gas company at the center of President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days MORE’s impeachment proceedings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Baccio, a former cyber official in the Obama administration, was hired by Buttigieg’s campaign last summer to help protect it from hackers and other online threats. The hire made Buttigieg’s campaign the first to bring on a full-time staff member to oversee cybersecurity.

Baccio did not elaborate on the disagreements that led to his resignation when reached by The Hill. A spokesperson for Buttigieg confirmed that he had resigned and said that the campaign had retained a new security firm.

“Mick resigned earlier this month and we thank him for the work he did to protect our campaign against attacks,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Our campaign has retained a new security firm and continues to be committed to digital security and protecting against cyber attacks.”

His resignation came just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the first-in-the-nation nominating contest, on Feb. 3. 

Cybersecurity emerged as a significant topic of concern in the 2020 presidential election after the events of 2016, when Russian operatives hacked into the email accounts of Democratic operatives, including John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcGrath reshuffles campaign in home stretch to Senate election Appeals court blocks Hillary Clinton deposition on private email server What Biden must do to keep his lead and win MORE’s presidential campaign.

Federal law enforcement and intelligence officials have warned that foreign actors are poised to try to interfere in this year’s election as well. 

—Updated at 1:37 p.m.