Amid a wave of hacks, Biden moves to fill key cyber posts2 min read . Updated: 12 Apr 2021, 05:33 PM IST
- President expected to nominate NSA veterans to key positions
President Biden is expected to name two former National Security Agency officials to high-level cybersecurity positions Monday, as the White House looks to round out its personnel on an issue it has said is a priority in the wake of two recent hacks linked to foreign governments, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Biden is expected to nominate Jen Easterly, a former senior counterterrorism and cybersecurity official at NSA with experience at the Obama White House, to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, according to the people familiar with the matter. CISA is an arm of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for election security and protecting civilian government networks from hackers.
Separately, Chris Inglis, the former deputy director of the NSA, is expected to be nominated as the first ever national cyber director, the people said. The position, housed within the Executive Office of the President, was created through a provision in the annual defense policy spending that passed Congress in January.
The role is intended to coordinate cybersecurity efforts across the federal government and will include its own office with up to 75 dedicated staff. The structure generally resembles that of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Mr. Biden also is expected to name Rob Silvers, a partner at the international law firm Paul Hastings, as undersecretary for policy at DHS, the people said.
Mr. Silvers, who focuses on cybersecurity and privacy issues in his practice and has experience with cybersecurity work at DHS during the Obama administration—including guarding the 2016 election from Russian interference—had for months been rumored to be in contention for the CISA job as well. His undersecretary job, if he is confirmed, will also focus heavily but not entirely on cybersecurity issues, the people said.
Ms. Easterly and Mr. Inglis didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Silvers declined to comment. The White House and DHS didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. News of the selections was reported earlier by the Washington Post.
If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Easterly will take the helm of a cybersecurity agency that has endured turmoil in recent months following President Trump’s abrupt firing of its previous leader, Chris Krebs, who was removed after his agency said the 2020 presidential election hadn’t been tampered with and was secure.
Ms. Easterly has most recently worked as a senior cybersecurity and resilience executive at Morgan Stanley.
Other senior leaders of the multibillion-dollar agency—which comprises roughly 3000 federal employees—have been forced out by the Trump administration since the November election.
By turning to two NSA veterans for two significant cybersecurity posts, Mr. Biden is adding to a cybersecurity team that already has strong ties to the U.S. government’s top electronic eavesdropping agency. Anne Neuberger, a senior NSA official who ran the agency’s cybersecurity directorate during the Trump administration, was named in January to the role of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology.
Ms. Neuberger has been leading the Biden administration’s response to the suspected Russian hack of at least nine federal agencies and about 100 companies, as well as the response to a Microsoft email software hack disclosed last month that Microsoft and others have linked to China.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
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