The Trump administration is continuing, as time goes on, to mold the structure of government more to its liking. As one example of this trend, the Trump EPA has moved to end a number of environmental safety regulations, although they’ve found that doing so isn’t quite as easy as ripping up a piece of paper.
There is now another example of this trend from inside the Trump administration, and it highlights their tendency to ignore tangible, pressing threats to national security, like that of climate change.
POLITICO is reporting this Tuesday that the administration has ended a role established under the Obama administration that consolidated authority for the nation’s cybersecurity into a single position. The position was created as a part of the National Security Council, which has newly come under the leadership of the president’s third national security adviser, the war-loving John Bolton.
POLITICO obtained an email sent out to NSC staffers by Bolton aide Christine Samuelian, who wrote that “eliminating another layer of bureaucracy delivers greater ‘decision, activity, secrecy and despatch.’” The latter part of her quoted comment is taken from Federalist No. 70, written by Alexander Hamilton in 1788.
Hamilton argued in that paper for the government’s executive powers to be ultimately vested in one, singular office as opposed to them being more widely distributed. For Samuelian to cite the argument is curious and noteworthy, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s citing something drawn up hundreds of years ago in a national environment largely different from the one faced in the present day.
The present national environment includes threats from foreign cyber-intrusion into our electoral systems, something that has underlined the Russia scandal that the president and his closest allies remain so up in arms about. As is clear thanks to the fact that they’re ending this cyber coordinator role, however, that concern is based as much in a desire to see the scandal go away no matter what the cost as it’s based in a desire to actually address the problem.
In a time when the nation should be fortifying its cyber defenses, the Trump administration is tearing them down.
Commenting on the development, top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner tweeted:
‘I don’t see how getting rid of the top cyber official in the White House does anything to make our country safer from cyber threats.’
Warner is not the only one to have expressed alarm at this point at the Trump administration ending the cyber coordinator role; POLITICO reports that cyber policy experts, lawmakers and former officials had all sought to get the president to keep the role intact, but his administration took a different path. The administration formerly had Rob Joyce of the National Security Agency in the role; he left his position on Friday.
The shake-up is hardly the only indication that the president and his allies don’t take the Russia scandal as seriously as Americans might hope. He has repeatedly called the Russia investigation as led at the Department of Justice by Special Counsel Robert Mueller a “witch hunt” — and it is, nevertheless, continuing.
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