The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) advises the Department of Homeland Security on cyber security and infrastructure protection. The NIAC has recently warned that dramatic steps were required to prevent a possible “9/11-level cyber attacks”.
On August 21st, seven of the NIAC’s 27 members resigned en masse, claiming President Donald Trump and his administration is not
adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview, or responsive to sound advice received from experts and advisors on these matters.
They also faulted the President for giving
insufficient attention to the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend, including those impacting the systems supporting our democratic election process.
The resigning members also charged that Trump had “threatened the security of the homeland,” by undermining the nation’s moral infrastructure through his response to the violence in Charlottesville and disregard for the threat of climate change to the nation’s infrastructure.
The text of the letter is below:
I do hereby tender my resignation, effective immediately from the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). I chose to serve on this council because I believe deeply in its mission. Formed in 2001 under President George W. Bush, NIAC provides the President with advice on the security of the Nation’s critical infrastructure. Historically, bipartisan membership of NIAC serves in the spirit of collaboration and with a shared interest in ensuring the security of our Nation’s infrastructure through public-private collaboration. Unfortunately, my experience to date has not demonstrated that the Administration is adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview, or responsive to sound advice received from experts and advisors on these matters.
In taking on this duty, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, that oath compels me to resign. The moral infrastructure of our Nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built. The Administration’s actions undermine that foundation.
Your actions have threatened the security of the homeland I took an oath to protect. These actions include your remarks given at a press conference on infrastructure reform on August 15, 2017. When asked about the horrific violence in Charlottesville, you failed to denounce the intolerance and violence of hate groups, instead offering false equivalences and attacking the motives of the CEOs who had resigned from their advisory roles in protest. You have given insufficient attention to the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend, including those impacting the systems supporting our democratic election process. Additionally, your decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, your intent to revoke flood-risk building standards, and your many other actions to ignore the pressing threat of climate change to our critical infrastructure also point to your disregard for the security of
To the NIAC chair, vice-chair, our fellow NIAC members, and the hard-working Department of Homeland Security staff that provide superb support to NIAC, I wish to express my thanks for the time, commitment, and effort they each have devoted to providing sound advice to this and prior Administrations on matters of great national concern. I continue to believe that public-private collaboration is vital for addressing gaps we face in security across all U.S. infrastructure sectors. I remain committed to applying my experience and expertise to advance American security and prosperity through other means.