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July 11, 2017

Thompson to POTUS: Cancel Russia Cyber ‘Unit’ and Focus on Filling Positions at DHS

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to President Trump demanding he clarify his statements regarding his plan to set up an “impenetrable Cyber Security Unit” with Russia.  The plan, announced at the G-20 summit, provoked widespread criticism until the President subsequently suggested he did not “think it can happen.” Meanwhile, there remain numerous vacancies in the Department of Homeland Security and its National Protection and Programs Directorate, which is charged with protecting U.S. cyber-infrastructure.

Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement on the issue:

“Besides being a ridiculous idea, the notion that the federal government should be setting up a cyber working group with our adversary, Russia, while President Trump leaves leadership positions at our own cybersecurity agencies unfilled is irresponsible and reckless.  Instead, President Trump and officials in his Administration must unequivocally disavow the creation of this cyber unit and any possibility of sharing secrets with Russia.  The President should consider working more closely with our proven, longtime allies on the shared cybersecurity threats we face – from election hacking to utility breaches.  President Trump should also focus on nominating and appointing skilled, proven leaders for key national security positions – especially those that handle cybersecurity – instead of picking them at a snail’s pace.  Too many key positions remain unfilled six months after he took office.”

Today, the Under Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary for the National Protection & Programs Directorate, as well as the Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity & Communications positions have still not been filled by President Trump.  However, DHS has announced the appointment of Jeanette Manfra to be Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications.

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978