Roughly two weeks before his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump promised swift action to “keep America safe” from cyberattacks. He vowed: “I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office.”
But as Politico reports, those 90 days have come and gone, and the White House has offered up no plan to combat malicious foreign hackers who are, as the president-elect put it, “consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses, and organizations.”
released by "Intelligence" even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
Instead, the Trump White House has taken every opportunity to distract the American public from the major cyberattacks of yesteryear that upended its political rivals in the Democratic Party. President Trump has, without evidence or data, claimed that the breaches had no effect on the outcome of the election, even though his campaign surrogates routinely cited the the content of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, leaked by WikiLeaks, during national TV interviews. (Trump himself publicly urged Russia before the election to hack his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.)
And in an apparent attempt to divert attention away from an act of espionage committed by a foreign power, Trump manufactured allegations against the former administration, accusing President Barack Obama of “wiretapping” Trump Tower—an accusation widely refuted by Trump’s own intelligence chiefs.
White House lawyers have also drummed up classified intelligence reports, which they secretly shared with the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee—Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)—in an apparent attempt to validate the president’s allegations. Those reports, which have now been viewed by several Republican and Democratic lawmakers, are said to show no wrongdoing by Obama’s staff. The charade eventually forced Nunes—a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign and an influential member of the Trump transition team—to recuse himself from his own committee’s investigation into Russia’s hacking efforts.
Trump announced in January that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani would form a cybersecurity team to work on the White House’s behalf. Politico reports, however, that Giuliani’s group is not involved in the creation of the 90-day plan, if one even exists.
A White House spokesperson would not “directly address why the deadline was missed,” Politico writes; Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters offered the following statement, however: “The president has appointed a diverse set of executives with both government and private sector expertise to deliver an initial cybersecurity plan through a joint effort between the National Security Council and the Office of American Innovation.”