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White House ‘rumoured to close State Department’s only cyber …

It has been reported that the cyber security office in the State Department may be closed as its top diplomat quits. Christopher Painter, the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, is leaving his post at the end of the month after well over two decades of leadership on the issue, per Politico. The news outlet also reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may shut down Mr Painter s office, which is responsible for negotiating joint agreements with other countries on issues like protecting critical infrastructure and developing cyber norms.

Mr Tillerson may also merge the cyber security office with an office in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Mieke Eoyang, Vice President for the National Security Program at DC-based think tank Third Way, told The Independent the closure is problematic, at best. The news comes on the heels of a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Mr Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and translators were the only people present at the meeting. The former ExxonMobil CEO addressed the media after the bilateral and said the Mr Trump did ask Mr Putin if Russia hacked the US election, a fact that has been corroborated by several US intelligence agencies. Mr Putin said his denial was accepted by the US president, a narrative that did not match Mr Tillerson s and has since not been resolved.

There was also a discussion – according to Mr Tillerson’s account – that there would be a joint US-Russia effort tasked with ensuring cyber security . It was ridiculed by Mr Trump’s critics and he later backtracked on his statement. Mr Trump’s campaign team is also under investigation by the FBI, Congress, and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller for alleged ties to Russian officials prior to Mr Trump taking office. The possible closure points to a real lack of interest in what other countries are going through, Ms Eoyang said.

The State Department should be the natural point of contact for diplomats wanting to discuss cybersecurity issues, Ms Eoyang explained, adding that no country will want to talk the National Security Agency (NSA). The may not want to deal with the Trump administration-proposed US Cyber Command either, to be carved from the NSA. The nature of these US government offices is not inherently about diplomacy like the State Department s office.

The Government Accountability Office is still reviewing the proposed split and Representative Adam Smith, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Politico that we must avoid leaving either organisation with diminished capabilities or creating institutional gaps that could endanger national security . Sen . Lindsey Graham: Trump is empowering Putin by ignoring the cyber attacks

Jason Healey, a senior cyber researcher at Columbia University told Politico that if the US were to surrender that leadership on cyber security…it would mean the future internet will have more Russian and Chinese characteristics. Michael Sulmeyer, director of the Harvard Belfer Center s Cyber Security Project and former director of Cyber Policy Plans and Operations at the Defence Department, told The Independent that the closing this office would be a step backwards for U.S .

leadership in the world on this issue. Another former US cybersecurity official told The Independent that because cyber security is an increasingly important national security issue in light of Russia, the Untied States creates risk for itself when it short-changes the diplomatic element . Ms Eoyang points out as well that what Russia did by breaking into a campaign s headquarters as they did in hacking the Democratic National Committee is criminal and Mr Tillerson may shut down the office under his purview responsible for dealing with that problem.

Part of the problem is that Mr Painter was, according to Mr Sulmeyer, the voice of American diplomacy on such a wide-range of technology and cyber security issues . Mr Painter had investigated and prosecuted cyber crime cases in Los Angeles as a US Attorney, in the Department of Justice, FBI, and National Security Council. He is not a political appointee, but a career civil servant, which the former US cyber security official felt limits the Mr Painter s power in the position.

However, Mr Sulmeyer said Mr Painter s breadth and depth of experience made it easy for him to work across the US government and understand the concerns of other countries from a more holistic view.

The risks are that it will take the State Department a long time to select a permanent successor if they ever do, and that the learning curve on these issues is steep, said Mr Sulmeyer. Whoever is appointed – because someone has to represent the US in international fora…better be a quick study and good at working towards constructive outcomes . A pit-bull mentality is not ideal for this kind of job . But that person must be on-guard for efforts to undermine US interests . It would not be surprising if the position does go unfilled given the many positions within the State Department that Mr Tillerson has yet to fill.

At the highest level, the Trump administration only has six Senate-confirmed Ambassadors around the world: the United Nations, Israel, Senegal/Guinea-Bissau, Congo-Brazzaville, China, and New Zealand/Samoa.

Coalitions require maintenance, and senior leadership is a part of that .

But if Mr Tillerson decides to fill the role…they will find a very capable staff of career officials advising them, said one former US official.

White House 'rumoured To Close State Department's Only Cyber ...Reuse content1

References

  1. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Hard Brexit would deprive UK of vital intelligence and put national security at risk, parliamentary inquiry will warn

National security will be put at risk unless Theresa May1 aborts a hard Brexit that would starve Britain of vital intelligence information, a parliamentary inquiry will warn. The Prime Minister will be told to drop her resistance to EU judges overseeing the cross-border flow of data or give a helping hand to terrorists and organised crime, The Independent has learned. Britain must pursue a transitional deal on data-swapping or risk an immediate stop on Brexit2 departure day in March 2019, an all-party House of Lords committee will say.

Its hard-hitting report will suggest that this can only be achieved by conceding continuing oversight by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) a red line for Ms May in the Brexit talks, so far. At stake is access to intelligence sharing through the Europol law enforcement agency and to the Schengen information system, which holds an 8,000-name watchlist of suspected terror suspects. Without a deal, separate agreements would have to be struck with individual police forces and intelligence services with the danger that vital information will fall between the cracks , experts fear.

The peers will also strongly criticise the Home Office for failing to explain how it plans to avoid a sudden cliff edge loss of intelligence, when giving evidence to the inquiry. The stark warning will carry extra weight because Lord Condon, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, sits on the committee and will speak out when it is released on Tuesday. A source who has seen the report told The Independent: The committee will say a transitional arrangement is crucial if the Government is not going to put national security at risk.

It will say it has little confidence that a new deal can be struck in time so the status quo makes sense, which involves oversight by the European Court of Justice.

The source added: The committee was taken aback by ministers inability to give any clear direction as to how they intend to deal with this enormously complex issue. The report, by the Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, will warn that security data-sharing with the US could also be lost because that currently forms part of an umbrella agreement with he EU. Also at risk is Britons control over their own personal and financial data, vast amounts of which is held in the US, rather than in Britain.

The threat arises because, after Brexit, the UK will be treated as a third country requiring the European Commission to be satisfied it will protect data as securely as EU members. It will take up to three years for Britain to be granted an adequacy decision from Brussels the necessary approval for data to be freely exchanged. Furthermore, the ECJ has ruled that mass data retention of the kind allowed in the UK under the Investigatory Powers Act, or snoopers charter , is unlawful, throwing up a further hurdle.

Businesses also fear the loss of data sharing rights . Companies face moving part of their operations to the EU or risk losing business to rival firms on the Continent. The British Bankers Association has warned of a damaging cliff edge effect where the flow of data could lapse overnight at the point of UK exit from the EU . Last month, The Independent revealed how technology experts feared ministers were not giving the issue proper priority because they did not understand it fully.

Antony Walker, the deputy chief executive of the trade association techUK, said: The danger of an ad hoc fix is that things fall between the cracks and, for security issues, that would be a significant risk.

Ministers say this is on their list of ten priority issues, but I m not sure they understand the full significance of the threat. The Home Office is expected to respond when the report is published, after one of its ministers, Baroness Williams of Trafford, left the committee in the dark when she gave evidence in April. Baroness Williams was unable to say what the transition arrangements might look like , telling peers: I am not being unhelpful . It is just that I cannot.

Asked whether Britain was willing to sign up to amendments to data transfer rules after Brexit, to ensure continued compliance, she replied: I literally do not know . That is to be determined. The minister was also unable to say whether anyone from the Home Office would be represented at the Brexit negotiations, to ensure the issue was given prominence.

Hard Brexit Would Deprive UK Of Vital Intelligence And Put National Security At Risk, Parliamentary Inquiry Will WarnReuse content3

References

  1. ^ Theresa May (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Brexit (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Donald Trump is ‘greatest threat to international security’, says former MI6 head

  • 1/58 1 July 2017

    Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong . Thousands joined an annual protest march in Hong Kong, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his visit to the city by warning against challenges to Beijing’s sovereignty. AP

  • 2/58 30 June 2017

    Jockey Andrea Coghe of “Selva” (Forest) parish rides his horse during the first practice for the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy June 30, 2017

    Reuters

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    A man takes pictures with a phone with a Union Flag casing after Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) inspected troops at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 30, 2017

    Reuters

  • 4/58 29 June 2017

    A protester against U.S . President Donald Trump’s limited travel ban, approved by the U.S . Supreme Court, holds a sign next to protesters supporting the ban, in New York City, U.S., June 29, 2017

    Reuters

  • 5/58 29 June 2017

    Israeli Air Force Efroni T-6 Texan II planes perform at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, on June 29, 201

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 6/58 28 June 2017

    A woman gestures next to people spraying insecticide on a vehicle during a mosquito-control operation led by Ivory Coast’s National Public and Health Institute in Bingerville, near Abidjan where several cases of dengue fever were reported on June 27, 2017

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 7/58 28 June 2017

    An aerial view shows women swimming in the Yenisei River on a hot summer day, with the air temperature at about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), outside Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, June 28, 2017

    Reuters

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    A Libyan coast guardsman watches over as illegal immigrants arrive to land in a dinghy during the rescue of 147 people who attempted to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017 . More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy’s coastguard said on June 27, 2017

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 9/58 27 June 2017

    Investigators work at the scene of a car bomb explosion which killed Maxim Shapoval, a high-ranking official involved in military intelligence, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017

    Reuters

  • 10/58 26 June 2017

    A man leaves after voting in the Mongolian presidential election at the Erdene Sum Ger (Yurt) polling station in Tuul Valley . Mongolians cast ballots on June 26 to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master in a presidential election rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric

    AFP/Getty Images

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    People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a play ground in the suburb of Sale, Morocco

    REUTERS

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    A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activist as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a Gay Pride annual parade on 25 June 2017 in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor’s office.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 13/58 25 June 2017

    Pakistan army soldiers stands guard while rescue workers examine the site of an oil tanker explosion at a highway near Bahawalpur, Pakistan . An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing more than one hundred people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, an official said. AP

  • 14/58 24 June 2017

    Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide that occurred in Xinmo Village, Mao County, Sichuan province, China

    REUTERS

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    Student activists shout anti martial law slogans during a protest in Manila on June 23, 2017

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 16/58 23 June 2017

    A diver performs from the Pont Alexandre III bridge into the River Seine in Paris, France, June 23, 2017 as Paris transforms into a giant Olympic park to celebrate International Olympic Days with a variety of sporting events for the public across the city during two days as the city bids to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

    Reuters

  • 17/58 23 June 2017

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    Reuters

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) stands under pouring rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion, by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, on June 22, 2017

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 19/58 22 June 2017

    Smoke rises following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, on June 22, 2017

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 20/58 22 June 2017

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    AFP/Getty Images

  • 21/58 21 June 2017

    Girls stand in monsoon rains beside an open laundry in New Delhi, India

    Reuters

  • 22/58 21 June 2017

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    Reuters

  • 23/58 20 June 2017

    Faroe Islanders turn the sea red after slaughtering hundreds of whales as part of annual tradition

    Rex

  • 24/58 20 June 2017

    A firefighting plane tackles a blaze in Cadafaz, near Goes, Portugal

    Reuters

  • 25/58 15 June 2017

    A person participates in a journalists’ protest asking for justice in recent attacks on journalists in Mexico City, Mexico, 15 June 2017

    EPA

  • 26/58 11 June 2017

    Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski starts in front of the Messeturm, Fairground Tower, in Frankfurt Germany . More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run

    AP

  • 27/58 11 June 2017

    A runner lies on the ground after arriving at the finish line in Frankfurt Germany . More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run

    AP

  • 28/58 11 June 2017

    A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union

    Getty Images

  • 29/58 11 June 2017

    A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform on the tarmac at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union

    Getty Images

  • 30/58 11 June 2017

    French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Trogneux cast their ballot at their polling station in the first round of the French legislatives elections in Le Touquet, northern France

    EPA

  • 31/58 11 June 2017

    A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand . Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world . Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoist

    EPA

  • 32/58 11 June 2017

    A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand . Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world . Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoists

    EPA

  • 33/58 11 June 2017

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem . An Israeli court has ordered a journalist to pay more than $25,000 in damages to Netanyahu and his wife Sara for libeling them .

    The magistrate court in Tel Aviv ruled Sunday that Igal Sarna libeled the couple for writing a Facebook post that claimed the prime minister’s wife kicked the Israeli leader out of their car during a fight

    AP

  • 34/58 10 June 2017

    Parkour enthusiasts train on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil . Originally developed in France, the training discipline is gaining popularity in Brazil

    Mario Tama/Getty Images

  • 35/58 10 June 2017

    Volunteers spread mozzarella cheese toppings on the Guinness World Record attempt for the Longest Pizza in Fontana, California, USA . The pizza was planned to be 7000 feet (2.13 km) to break the previous record of 6082 feet (1.8 km) set in Naples, Italy in 2016

    EPA

  • 36/58 10 June 2017

    Jamaica’s Olympic champion Usain Bolt gestures after winning his final 100 metres sprint at the 2nd Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica

    REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy

  • 37/58 10 June 2017

    Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m ‘Salute to a Legend’ race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica . Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil . Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships

    Getty Images

  • 38/58 10 June 2017

    Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m ‘Salute to a Legend’ race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica . Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil . Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships

    Getty Images

  • 39/58 10 June 2017

    Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands . A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station . The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have ‘no indication whatsoever’ the incident was an attack

    EPA

  • 40/58 10 June 2017

    Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands .

    A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station . The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have ‘no indication whatsoever’ the incident was an attack

    EPA

  • 41/58 10 June 2017

    Protesters stand off before police during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in Al Hoseima, Morocco . The neglected Rif region has been rocked by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger . Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed in a rubbish truck as he protested against the seizure of swordfish caught out of season and his death has sparked fury and triggered nationwide protests

    Getty Images

  • 42/58 9 June 2017

    A man looks on at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp set up under the highway near Porte de la Chapelle, northern Paris

    Getty Images

  • 43/58 9 June 2017

    Damaged cars are seen stacked in the middle of a road in western Mosul’s Zanjili neighbourhood during ongoing battles to try to take the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters

    Getty

  • 44/58 9 June 2017

    Smoke billows following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa

    Getty Images

  • 45/58 9 June 2017

    Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures next to Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto during a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico

    REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

  • 46/58 9 June 2017

    Soldiers and residents carry the body of a Muslim boy who was hit by a stray bullet while praying inside a mosque, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who has taken over large parts of the Marawi City, Philippines

    REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

  • 47/58 8 June 2017

    Opposition demonstrators protest for the death on the eve of young activist Neomar Lander during clashes with riot police, in Caracas

    Getty Images

  • 48/58 8 June 2017

    Neomar Lander, a 17-year-old boy was killed during a march in the Chacao district in eastern Caracas on Wednesday, taking the overall death toll since the beginning of April to 66, according to prosecutors

    Getty Images

  • 49/58 8 June 2017

    Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

    Getty Images

  • 50/58 8 June 2017

    Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

    Getty Images

  • 51/58 8 June 2017

    Usain Bolt of Jamaica trains at the University of West Indies in Kingston . Bolt says he is looking forward to having a party as he launches his final season on June 10 with what will be his last race on Jamaican soil . The 30-year-old world’s fasted man plans to retire from track and field after the 2017 London World Championships in August

    Getty Images

  • 52/58 8 June 2017

    Acquanetta Warren, Mayor of Fontana, California, reacts after US President Donald Trump introduced himself before the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors at the White House in Washington, US

    REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

  • 53/58 8 June 2017

    Frenchman Alain Castany, sentenced to 20 years on charges of drug trafficking in the ‘Air Cocaine’ affair, leaves the prison in Santo Domingo, on his way to France, where he is being transferred for medical reason

    Getty Images

  • 54/58 8 June 2017

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    REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

  • 55/58 8 June 2017

    Frenchman Alain Castany, sentenced to 20 years on charges of drug trafficking in the ‘Air Cocaine’ affair, leaves the prison in Santo Domingo, on his way to France, where he is being transferred for medical reasons

    Getty Images

  • 56/58 8 June 2017

    Queen Maxima of The Netherlands visits Tobroco Machines in Oisterwijk, Netherlands .

    The company is a manufacturer of machines for use in agriculture, road construction and field maintenance .

    Tobroco is winner of the 2016 Koning Willem 1 Award for entrepreneurship

    Getty Images

  • 57/58 7 June 2017

    A family member of an inmate tries to stop a truck used to transfer prisoners, outside a prison where a riot took place on Tuesday, in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico

    REUTERS/Josue Gonzalez

  • 58/58 7 June 2017

    An unconscious person is taken away on a motorcycle by fellow demonstrators after they clashed with riot police during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela

    Getty Images