Unlocking all the doors

They’re smoothing the way for Putin.

The White House eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council on Tuesday [last week], doing away with a post central to developing policy to defend against increasingly sophisticated digital attacks and the use of offensive cyber weapons.

A memorandum circulated by an aide to the new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the post was no longer considered necessary because lower-level officials had already made cybersecurity issues a “core function” of the president’s national security team.

Cybersecurity experts and members of Congress said they were mystified by the move, though some suggested Mr. Bolton did not want any competitive power centers emerging inside the national security apparatus.

Yes sure that’s all it is, a power play by Bolton. Nothing to see here, don’t worry.

It is unclear how those issues will now be managed in the White House. Mr. Bolton has virtually no cyber-related experience. When he was last in government, as ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, cybersecurity was not formally considered a national threat. It is now listed as the No. 1 threat in the annual assessment that the director of national intelligence sends to Congress.

Mr. Bolton has talked about “streamlining” the N.S.C., and so far that appears to have involved reducing many of the new positions created over the past decade.

Let’s have less security now.

The elimination of the cybersecurity role is likely to increase concern that the Trump administration is short-handed and unprepared to deal with increasing cybersecurity threats. The White House still has not presented a coherent plan to protect election systems in advance of the fall midterm elections.

Russian hackers are believed to have penetrated election computers in a number of states, though there is no evidence that vote counts were changed. And authorities say hackers with Kremlin ties engaged in a wide-ranging campaign to attack the computer systems of Democratic officials and spread misinformation on social media before and after the 2016 presidential election.

Security experts are also worried that hackers operating out of Iran or Russia could renew their efforts to penetrate computer systems in the United States, including machines that operate critical infrastructure like the electric power grid.

But other than that it’s no big deal.

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