Homeland Security chairman calls on new Trump aide to reestablish cyber coordinator

Homeland Security chairman calls on new Trump aide to reestablish cyber coordinator
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonProgressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist' House lawmakers to launch probe into DHS excluding NY from Trusted Traveler Program Cuomo says Wolf, Cuccinelli violated oath of office and should be investigated MORE (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE’s new national security adviser Robert O’Brien to prioritize reestablishing the White House cybersecurity coordinator position.

The post was eliminated in 2018 following the departure of former Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce. 

Former National Security Advisor John BoltonJohn BoltonEx-Trump adviser, impeachment witness Fiona Hill gets book deal Hannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon Congress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity MORE then formally eliminated the position, which was originally created by President Obama in 2009 to help coordinate cyber efforts across federal agencies. 

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With President Trump’s designation of O’Brien, who previously served as the chief hostage negotiator for the State Department, as the new national security adviser on Wednesday, Thompson called on O’Brien to immediately bring back the cybersecurity coordinator position.

“Mr. O’Brien, President Trump’s fourth National Security Advisor, is named when threats facing the nation have evolved and our adversaries are exploiting cyberspace in new ways to advance their economic ambitions, assert influence, and undermine U.S. power,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson emphasized that O’Brien’s “first act as National Security Advisor must be to bring back the position of White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. Despite concerns raised when the position was eliminated last year, the White House has done little to address the vacuum left behind.”

He added that “with cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and growing by the day, including the persistent threat to our election systems, there is no reason that the White House should have allowed this position to be eliminated.”

Thompson was one of the members of Congress who criticized the elimination of the cybersecurity coordinator position last year. At the time, Thompson said that there was “no logical reason” to eliminate the position in the face of increasing cyber threats.