Categories: Security

Eight Officials Resign From US IT Security Advisory Council

Eight members of the US’ IT security-oriented National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) resigned last week to protest what they called inadequate attention paid by the country’s current administration to online threats.

The administration has “given insufficient attention to the the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend”, the individuals said in a resignation letter.

‘Moral infrastructure’

“The moral infrastructure of our nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built. The administration’s actions undermine that foundation,” continues the letter, which was obtained and published (PDF) by NextGov.

The administration confirmed the resignations were all officials appointed by Barack Obama.

While a full list hasn’t been confirmed, over the weekend three officials said they were amongst those who resigned: White House chief data scientist DJ Patil, Office of Science and Technology policy chief of staff Cristin Dorgelo and White House Council on Environmental Quality managing director Christy Goldfuss. Patil was the White House’s first chief data scientist.

In their letter, the officials cited security issues as well as the president’s response to the deadly clashes in Charlottesville and the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

The letter cited the withdrawal from the Paris deal as evidence of the administration’s “disregard for the security of American communities”.

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Mass resignations

The latter two issues caused recent resignations en masse from two other bodies, the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum, which led the administration to dissolve both earlier this month. Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich was amongst those who resigned from the Manufacturing Council.

The NIAC is a public-private government council formed in 2001 to advise the president on cybersecurity systems in the finance, transportaiton, energy and manufacturing sectors. It can hold up to 30 members, who are chosen from the private sector, academia and state and local government.

The resignations occurred a day before the commission held a quarterly business meeting at which it approved a report on threats to US critical infrastructure, released on Monday. The report finds US cyber defences and readiness aren’t sufficiently protecting critical systems.

On Tuesday IT security firm Corero said the results of freedom of information requests indicated UK critical infrastructure organisations are falling short of basic safety requirements.

The company said 39 percent of the infrastructure organisations responding to its requests admitted they hadn’t completed the ’10 Steps to Cyber Security’ programme issued by the UK government.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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