8 execs resign from Trump's cybersecurity council

The exodus comes on the heels a report that found the major vulnerabilities with the government’s readiness to protect its critical systems from cyberattacks.
By Jessica Davis
03:02 PM
8 execs resign from Trump’s cybersecurity council

Eight members of the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council resigned last week citing inadequate attention the administration has given to pressing cybersecurity concerns. This could prove problematic for the healthcare industry, who could use additional cybersecurity resources and guidelines.

The council was established in 2001 under the Bush administration to provide the President with sound advice on the state of security for the government’s critical infrastructure. Under Trump, the council started with 30 members and fell to 28 when two members passed in their resignation. The latest wave of resignations leaves just 20 members in the group.

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In the letter, first obtained by Nextgov, the authors state the effort to improve the nation’s infrastructure is not functioning as intended.

“Historically, bipartisan membership of NIAC serves in the spirit of collaboration and with a shared interest in ensuring the security of our Nation’s infrastructure through public-private collaboration,” according to the resignation letter.

“Unfortunately, my experience to date has not demonstrated that the Administration is adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview, or responsive to sound advice received from experts and advisors on these matters,” the authors said.

The members also said their resignations were in protest of the way Trump handled the Charlottesville riots this month between white nationalists and counter-protesters, citing Trump’s lack of “moral infrastructure.”

The resignation also stems from Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and other actions that ignore climate change. The inaction “also points to your disregard for the security of American communities.”

Three of CEOs, who are remnants of the Obama administration, took to Twitter to announce their resignations: Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo, White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and White House Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil.

This news comes on the heels of Trump disbanding two business councils -- Strategic and Policy Forum and the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative -- after a mass exodus of executive board members. The President later opted to shut down the councils.

The bulk of the government’s security framework decisions come through National Institute of Standards and Technology. However, the eight executives left just before the council’s quarterly business meeting. The group recently filed a report that revealed the government’s readiness and defenses aren’t ready to protect its critical systems from cyberattacks.

“A large-scale cyber attack on one of these sectors could cause cascading effects across multiple sectors, threatening public health and safety, as well as economic and national security,” the report found.

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Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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