Early Wednesday morning, Bloomberg reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as part of Donald Trump’s effort to reduce “bureaucratic waste,” was intent on closing down the government’s Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues. The State-run department would be added as an afterthought to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
It all plays well with the theme so far of the Trump Administration, which seems to be “reverse everything.” Trump has overseen a trip back in time in economics, climate change, renewable energy, civil rights, religious freedom, and a host of other things that Americans very nearly got used to taking for granted.
But in boarding up the Cyber office, critics say, it may be more than simply taking a shorter view of something long-term like the economy. Cyber security is one of the major issues facing the country — as evidenced by the massive Russian hacking scandal at the heart of Trump’s presidential woes — and wedging it into an unrelated department, likely to be forgotten, is a recipe for disaster. Robert Knake, who was Obama’s cyber security policy director on the National Security Council, said:
It’s taking an issue that’s preeminent and putting it inside a backwater within the State Department. Position to power matters both within the U.S. government and within the international community.”
And not only will cyber security be jockeying for position in terms of priority at the State Department, but what progress has been made will surely be lost. That was the sentiment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose senior vice president James Lewis told The Hill:
It goes against everything we’ve been doing for the last decade.”
But then, with control of the country being handled by Republicans who apparently still live in the 1950’s, all this comes as no surprise. I expect any day now we’ll see warning labels come off packs of cigarettes, and CDC suggestions to just eat lots of soup during flu season. Maybe we can even get lead back in our gasoline!
The bright side is, the dumber Republicans make us look right now, the more whoever takes over from them will look like geniuses.
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