Pompeo pressed on plans for cybersecurity at State

Pompeo pressed on plans for cybersecurity at State
© Greg Nash

CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid Hillicon Valley: Elon Musk sued by diver from Thai cave rescue | Researchers find new malware family | FEMA delays new presidential alert test Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019 MORE on Thursday would not say what his plans would be for the top cyber position at the State Department, though he said he would put “a great deal of resources” toward cybersecurity efforts if confirmed.

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Colorado governor sets up federal PAC before potential 2020 campaign Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (R-Colo.) asked Pompeo about his plans for the cybersecurity position at the State Department, an apparent reference to the now-defunct role of cybersecurity coordinator. Former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias MORE, who President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE fired last month, eliminated the position as part of his broader reorganization plan for the department — a move that irked both Republicans and Democrats.

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“I have had the [organization] chart shown to me. I have seen the holes,” Pompeo said Thursday. “Beyond that, I haven’t given a great deal of consideration to people filling particular positions.” 

“I can only say that, every element of government has a piece of its cyber duty. It’s one of the challenges that it’s so deeply divided, that we don’t have a central place to do cyber work,” Pompeo said.

“At the CIA, we’ve spent a great deal of resources. I hope we have delivered value on our cyber efforts. I would hope we do the same thing at the State Department,” he said. 

Tillerson told Congress last summer that he was closing the Office of Cybersecurity Coordinator and folding its responsibilities into a bureau focused on economic and business affairs.

Several lawmakers balked at the move, worrying it signaled a downgrade to the department’s efforts to engage with other nations on cyber policy and norms. In January, the House voted to approve legislation that would restore the cyber office. State officials have insisted that cyber remains a top priority at the department. 

Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for several hours on Thursday as part of his confirmation process to become secretary of State.

Trump tapped Pompeo to lead State on March 13, the same day he removed Tillerson — a decision that abruptly ended the former Exxon Mobil executive’s 14-month tenure.

Broadly, Pompeo committed to filling critical vacancies at the State Department and boosting workforce morale.