Sunday 17 December 2017

Donald Trump mysteriously pulls out of signing landmark cyber security order at last minute

Andrew Griffin

Donald Trump mysteriously cancelled the signing of an executive order on cyber security at the very last minute.

The new President had touted the new order as a way of strengthening the government's hacking protections, which he has said numerous times are lacking.

But he then pulled out of actually signing it without any explanation.

Mr Trump had previously said that the EO was required to "defend and protect federal networks and data", at a meeting immediately before it was due to be signed. "We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important and very sacred," he said.

Press secretary Sean Spicer echoed the claims of how important signing the document was. "The executive order is the first step the president is taking to address new security challenges of the 21st century," he told reporters.

But it then emerged – apparently during a press conference that Mr Spicer was holding – that Mr Trump wouldn't sign the order after all. It would be delayed to talk to people who have ideas, a note handed to the press secretary appeared to suggest.

A White House official said on Tuesday morning that the order would put the Office of Management and Budget in charge of cybersecurity efforts within the executive branch and direct federal agency directors to develop their own plans to modernise their infrastructure.

Such a review has become standard for incoming administrations wanting to put their own stamp on cybersecurity, but this year, the push follows allegations of election-season hacking by the Russian government.

US intelligence officials have told Mr Trump that Moscow tried to influence voters by hacking Democratic emails and trolling social media sites. He has sought to downplay Russia's role in the election.

President Barack Obama directed his own comprehensive 60-day "clean slate" cyberspace policy review in 2009. That review built on President George W Bush's aims laid out in 2003.

Additional reporting by PA

Independent News Service

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