He might not have a reputation for being the most tech-savvy of presidents, but in January, following a briefing on Russia’s interference during the election, Donald Trump promised to appoint a team of experts to deal with cybersecurity threats within 90 days of taking office. Now, that deadline has passed, and there’s still no sign of his plans.
“Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks,” Trump said. “I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. [...] America’s safety and security will be my No. 1 priority.”
released by "Intelligence" even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
Politico reports that with the 90 days now up, “there is no team, there is no plan, and there is no clear answer from the White House on who would even be working on what.”
Trump did appoint Rudy Giuliani to a top cybersecurity role earlier this year (despite an apparent lack of experience), but a spokesperson for the former New York mayor confirmed he is not involved in any 90-day report.
There seems to be confusion over who is responsible for the plan. The National Security Council (NSC) would normally be involved in such matters, but a spokesperson said he was unaware if the NSC was in charge of compiling the report.
A White House spokesperson didn’t say why the deadline was allowed to pass, telling Politico: “The president has appointed a diverse set of executives with both government and private sector expertise who are currently working to deliver an initial cybersecurity plan through a joint effort between the National Security Council and the Office of American Innovation.”
With no sign of a report in sight, it could be at least another 90 days before the White House produces one. “This is not a simple issue,” said Ned Price, who was a NSC spokesman during the Obama era. “If the clock really is at zero, we shouldn’t expect a well-produced report any time soon.”