Several members of a White House cybersecurity council resigned last week in protest over President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville and the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, among other issues.
In a resignation letter obtained by NextGov, eight members of the 28-person National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) said that the president’s “actions have threatened the security of the homeland I took an oath to protect.” The letter states that the Trump administration is not “adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview,” and that Trump has paid “insufficient attention” to the growing threats that the US faces to its cybersecurity.
The letter also points to Trump’s failure to condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists following this month’s violence in Charlottesville, as well as his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, which the signees cite as evidence of the president’s “disregard for the security of American communities.”
“The moral infrastructure of our Nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built,” the letter reads. “The Administration’s actions undermine that foundation.”
Three Obama-era officials — DJ Patil, Cristin Dorgelo, and Christy Goldfuss — confirmed their resignations from the council on Twitter over the weekend. Eight names were removed from the NIAC website, Defense One reports.
Established in 2001 under an executive order from President George W. Bush, the NIAC advises the president on critical infrastructure security. Last week’s resignations came ahead of a new NIAC report that called for the US to strengthen its cyber defense systems, adding that the current state of US infrastructure is a in a “pre-9/11 moment.” (Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta used similar language to describe the state of US cybersecurity infrastructure in 2012.)
Two White House business councils were disbanded earlier this month after several executives raised concerns over Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence.