President #Donald Trump once said he would reveal his plan for defeating the Islamic State within the first 30 days as president – that didn’t happen. After a much-hyped meeting in January with the U.S. intelligence officials to discuss Russia’s alleged involvement in hacking Hillary Clinton-related emails, then-president-elect Trump released a statement promising he would appoint a team that, within 90 days of his taking office, would reveal a plan to work on cybersecurity.
Trump missed that deadline Thursday. Apparently Trump doesn’t have a team or plan, and there is no definite answer from the White House on who would work on that.
Since his inauguration, Trump has sent out a couple of tweets and promised to get to the bottom of Russian hacking. After being briefed on Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election, Trump said: “I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. … America’s safety and security will be my No. 1 priority.”
White House mix-up?
In what may be a case of confusion in the White House, there appears to be mix-up in the designation of responsibilities for the anti-hacking plan. The #National Security Council is normally involved with matters of cybersecurity, but a spokesperson for the council said Wednesday that he was unaware if the NSC was in charge of filing a report, according to Politico.
The NSC apparently thought that the task was assigned to Rudy Giuliani, an informal adviser to the White House who’s leading a group tasked with building private sector partnerships on cybersecurity. The former mayor of New York City is indeed in talks with private sectors, but a representative has since confirmed that he hasn’t been tasked to furbish a report within 90 days of Trump’s presidency.
On why Trump missed the deadline, deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said that the president has already appointed a team to come up with an initial cybersecurity plan “through a joint effort between the National Security Council and the Office of American Innovation.”
White House: oblivious to cybersecurity threats?
Missing the announced deadline is deemed “unfortunate” by Harvard Belfer Center’s Cyber Security Project. According to Michael Sulmeyer, the organization’s director, it triggers people to question if the White House is taking these threats seriously.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the NSC during the Obama administration called the setback a “lackadaisical approach,” and said that the current administration handles cybersecurity very differently from the previous administration.
Meanwhile, The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the hacking accusations and the issue is still under investigation by congressional committees and the FBI.