Members of Trump’s cybersecurity council resign in protest

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

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.


My thing, if everyone who opposes Trump leaves their posts & gets replaced with people who tolerate the man, what exactly was accomplished? Are they not doing more harm than good at that point?

My thoughts exactly. I mean I understand councilors protesting and eventually leaving out of frustration, but Trump will not learn anything from it (not that he would have learned anything if they had stayed) and he will just end up with a lot of yes-men around him who will do everything to please the man.

We are unwittingly setting this man up, piece by piece, to be the autocrat he desires to be. More pressure is what is needed, not a "fuck you, I’m out." He’ll only be glad you’re gone. Whereas if pressure is applied at all sides & grows, he’ll become powerless as opposed to despised but unopposed.

That only works if the councilors actually had any way to pressure Trump. The economic advisory council was just a dog and pony show before it dissolved.

So you’re lumping councils together because they share what – a noun/part of a name? That’s like saying "I’m glad Steve Williams is gone, that guy Jeff Williams was a dick."

I’m not saying the business advisory council and the NIAC were the same. What I’m saying is if they have no influence or ability to actually "advise" Trump (did he attend any briefings?), then there’s no reason to keep up the false image.

The reference to the business council was an example of another advisory committee which had no influence, and only served as a PR point for Trump.

Every credible person that works for Trump lends their credibility to him. If everyone who opposes Trump quits or rejects his efforts at building systems of government, he’ll be left with only the rotten eggs like Gorka and Scaramucci to choose from.

Now, if you believe there’s no bottom to the dishonorable and disreputable things Trump and his accomplices can do, then sure, there’s no value in good people quitting his admin. But I’d like to think that these increments of good people dissociating themselves and condemning Trump will eventually lead to his downfall. It certainly contributes to making him less effective at doing anything.

I do feel it gives him more leeway to do worse if the people who oppose him no longer hold poignant positions that could disrupt his intent or lack thereof. If he’s surrounded by people who tolerate him, he’ll be beholden of the power to do worse as opposed to opposed. He’ll be far more destructive in a lot more areas. If the people who opposed him stood their grounds and applied pressure I feel that would lead to his downfall as well with far less potential harm to these opposing forces.

The thing is no one can pressure Trump to do anything. I remember an article from I want to say WashingtonPost or someone like that where people in the white house (staffers) say it is so damn hard to get him to stop watching daytime news and to get him to pay attention to one thing. There was also an issue where they have to shorten any memos or papers to him to be a couple pages or less too.

A person like that who is stubborn is not going to be pressured by some people at a council. At worse he gets council with people who can stand his policies and actions. But even then the councils are mainly just symbolic, they aren’t really crafting any pieces of legislation.

I don’t think its a hard concept to grasp. If a president is ONLY surrounded by people who tolerate & support his madness, he is on a clear road to autocracy. Regardless of if he listens or has the capacity to, if he is opposed or challenged at every level, it takes away from his power. There will be moves he simply cannot make. If all of the people in the positions to oppose and challenge him start leaving because of him, it equates to less pressure & less resistance. If he then begins to fill those positions with people who tolerate or support his madness, he gains more power to do more harm.

@Black Dude : I don’t think Trump is ONLY surrounded by people who tolerate & support his madness. General Kelly seems to be trying to corral him, but if he pushes too hard (or lands on the cover of TIME again, I can easily imagine Kelly being shown the door or resigning in disgust.
Really, the only ways out that I see are 1) impeachment (things will need to get much worse) or 2) 25th Amendment, section 4 (which would amount to a palace coup). Mueller’s investigation could be the precipitating factor.

I get what you are saying. But it does not work with someone like Trump, we literally had these councils for months and he did whatever the fuck he wanted point blank. The councils are disbanding now to influence a little to see he is fucking up because he was not listening or paying attention when they were there.

You are going on the assumption he can be influenced, when that is proven wrong by the fact people have been trying to influence him for the longest and have not been successful.

I sure as hell hope you’re right, cuz that’s the way things appear to be going.

My interpretation of your post is that you don’t think he’ll make it through his first term, but all the scholars I see and hear have a hard time stating if he’s actually broken any laws. If he starts pardoning Mueller’s witnesses, then what? Will the Republicans have the balls moral and ethical dignity to remove him on other grounds before he lays waste to their party and possibly the country?

Personally, I think he’s an imbecile, and the office makes him the most dangerous man on the planet regarding short and long-term consequences. I say more patriots on the inside than plumbers.

What good are they achieving mouthing off to a brick wall though?

He’s more of a loud & obnoxious bulldozer than a wall. He doesn’t stand for anything, but has the potential to destroy a lot.

I don’t see it like that… I see them as honest people, who, regardless of party, then leak to the media. When those responsible for checks and balances no longer check and balance, then it goes guerrilla.

Obama’s cyber security council resigns in protest. FTFY

Only three of the eight who resigned were from the Obama administration. Try reading the article again. Or maybe for the first time.

Trump doesn’t bother with filling so many vacant positions. Having those who are supposed to work on important matters resign, creates an even bigger void in this administration. No wonder it’s so dysfunctional.

That’s a little backwards, it is inherently dysfunctional, so it cannot fill the positions. Even if all positions were filled, they would still be a sh$& show

Is Barron on the council? I understand he’s good with the cyber.

"My boss makes my job hard!" Welcome to the real world…

What real world are you living in? My boss makes my job easier by supporting me in my tasks. If yours doesn’t maybe you should consider a new employer…

Any boss is supposed to back up his employees not just be a middle manager. And really? Your comment comes off as these folks are some entitled millennials when these are literally people who were actually bosses themselves or already worked in the white house before. These people make more than most of us and probably have more experience with cybersecurity than all of us put together.

I don’t get why so many comments here condescend so much

View All Comments
Back to top ↑