back to article Trump's axing of cyber czar role has left gaping holes in US defence

A cybersecurity czar has been a long-established presence in US government – until recently. Against a rising tide of attacks on the nation's infrastructure and election systems, Donald Trump eliminated the post through an executive order in May. As if to highlight the deficiency of such a move, just two months later the US …

  1. Rich 11

    Trump to Putin

    "Mission accomplished."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      America Fall-Of-Rome moment #101

      Das Vedanya Comrade

      1. Nano nano

        Re: America Fall-Of-Rome moment #101

        I presume you meant "Do Svidanye"

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: America Fall-Of-Rome moment #101

          I presume you both meant до свида́ния.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Trump to Putin

      Well, TRUMP is an acronym for The Russians Ultimate Master Plan.

    3. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Trump to Putin

      "Do you have any officers who would make a good cyber czar for my great nation of America?"

  2. Aladdin Sane

    Is the gaping hole big enough to be seen by members of the space force?

    Would you like to know more?

  3. Hollerithevo

    Stupidity or cunning?

    What serves Trump's interests more? Does this serve the Republicans better than having a cyber-czar? Are they happy but going along, or unhappy and going along, because they seem to have lost the use of their spines and bollocks?

    1. nematoad

      Re: Stupidity or cunning?

      "...having a cyber-czar?"

      I can imagine a conversation in the Oval Office.


      "Wait, Czar is a Russian word so it must be a Communist plot. We ain't having none of that foreign garbage here!"

      Baby, bath water etc.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Stupidity or cunning?

        >Czar is a Russian word

        Actually it's the Russian pronunciation of latin Caesar

        Perhaps the Republicans would prefer the closer pronunciation Kaiser ?

        1. elDog

          Re: Stupidity or cunning?

          King, Tsar, Kaiser, Caesa - whatever.

          The dump would be happy wearing those emperor's robes.

          (Since he doesn't know how to read and couldn't care less, I doubt he understands what happens to 90%+ of the various emperors and their spawn.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stupidity or cunning?

        We could probably deal with losing a bit of valuable bathwater if that's what it took to throw the baby out

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Stupidity or cunning?

      I suspect you'll see this position ('security czar' or whatever) move into a more military/CIA context, rather than 'yet another meaningless bureaucrat'. With 1300 or so things left out of 3000 or so, sounds to me like it wasn't working very well.

      Yes. It's my guess that last May Trump decided that JUST having a 'security czar' wasn't working. He's a "results" kind of guy, after all. So buh-bye to the 'not working' bureaucracy. What replaces it might just be so secret it can't be mentioned.

      yeah, yeah, the wishful/hopeful/pipe-dream crowd [aka howler monkeys] will all downvote me for stating the obvious, and not using it as yet another opportunity for Trump's enemies to sling poo at him like a bunch of howler monkeys. Yeah, whoopee twiddle. badge of honor!

      1. EnviableOne

        Re: Stupidity or cunning?

        like the people he was going to appoint which are just air

        November 23, 2016

        We have many people for every job. I mean no matter what the job is, we have many incredible people. I think, [...] The quality of the people is very good. ... We’re trying very hard to get the best people. Not necessarily people that will be the most politically correct people, because that hasn’t been working. So we have really experts in the field. Some are known and some are not known, but they’re known within their field as being the best. That’s very important to me.

        yet still over half of the presidential appointments are lying empty

  4. Bloodbeastterror

    This fits in well...

    ...with the rumours of kompromat. I guess I'd like to be strong enough to call the bluff and allow the release of the pee tapes. I know for sure that Trump isn't strong enough and prefers to risk his country rather than his reputation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This fits in well...

      Oh please, the "pee tapes" aren't the kompromat. When you have a man with no shame, but a very fragile ego that is dependent on an image of very rich and very successful the only kompromat you could possibly have on him is evidence that shows that his money and success came from illegal means. Real, indisputable evidence, with documents, tapes, etc. Which I'm sure Putin has had for many years and Mueller has been slowly assembling.

      The biggest coup for Mueller's investigation wasn't Manafort or any of the other big fish who made the news, but the CFO of Trump's company since the 70s (back when his dad ran it) who recently agreed to cooperate. He's probably laid out the whole history of the dirty business, and now Mueller's team is busy chasing down documents, witness statements etc. to prove what he's told them.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: This fits in well...

        "When you have a man with no shame, but a very fragile ego"

        You have Obama and half of the Democrats [the other half are women - heh].

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This fits in well...

          Oh please, Trump is the biggest snowflake there is. He lashes out in anger at anyone who dares criticize him because he can dish it out but he sure can't take it!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought he had made it clear

    He hasn't eliminated the role, he's only keeping it open until Barron is on school break and can come fill the position.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    There More than One Way to Skin a Skunk RAT and Address a Virtual Land Grab

    Trump's May decision and this report taken together suggest that if the West was already slipping behind in the cyber war, things can only get worse now that the supposed leader of the free world has deliberately, and carelessly, taken his eye off the ball on the home front.

    That assessment would only be true if Western leadership is/was Reliant on and Implaccably Wedded to Corrupted and/or Defective USAsian or USAlien Interests slipping behind in the Vast Planes of CyberWare which are Capable of Delivering and Maintaining/Servering and Servicing Unlimited .... Limitless Future Plains for Colonisation of Virtual Realities with SMARTR Populations ..... which you might like to think would include you.

    And why not? What excuse would you give to not play a pivotal part?

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: There More than One Way to Skin a Skunk RAT and Address a Virtual Land Grab

      I tried to work out if your random capitalisation spelt out some acronyms or acrostics but no it's just rubbish semi-illiterate typing. Pity.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: There More than One Way to Skin a Skunk RAT and Address a Virtual Land Grab

        To the best of my knowledge, amanfromMars 1 is a travesty generator. I can understand your confusion because some of the other commentards here are even more incoherent.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: There More than One Way to Skin a Skunk RAT and Address a Virtual Land Grab

        There are many theories of amanfromMars

        Is it a broadcast source of entropy to seed encryption algorithms for some deep state conspiracy

        Is it proof that the reg isn't written by a secret AI project

        Is it proof that the reg is written by a secret AI project

        Is it a bug in the Matrix

        Is it really a man from Mars ?

        Personally I think it's a Perl script convicted of a crash it didn't commit which now roams the internet, if you can find it maybe you can hire the team.

  7. MooJohn

    It's just a figurehead

    "just two months later the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) told politicians that Uncle Sam had failed to implement 1,000 cyber protection recommendations from a list of 3,000 made since 2010"

    Mean ol' Trump axed the figurehead, not the division. So they ignored 1/3 of the suggestions made while they had a "czar." Does that sound like the person really made a difference? The departments and the IT staff that did these jobs are still there. They're just not paying a ridiculous salary for a famous name who can go to meetings and look important.

    I hear McAfee is available...

    1. jelabarre59

      Re: It's just a figurehead

      I had wondered the same thing. Perhaps by having a figurehead the other lazy & corrupt agencies could point to, those other agencies figured they couldn't be arsed to think about security concerns. Realistically it should be an integral part of every agency's infrastructure, and eliminating a convenient patsy means they'd have to get off their asses and do the job themselves.

      Not that they will, mind you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's just a figurehead

        One could argue all the political appointees are figureheads, and ax his whole cabinet. If he's going to ax a useless "czar", why not ax the drug czar? Talk about useless, the "drug war" is stupid and can never be won, as can be demonstrated by the decades of fighting it with zero success (other than for the drug companies, who managed to steal much of the heroin revenue in the US by providing "legal" opiods in vast quantities and making our insurance pay for them - I'm sure they'd love to come up with a way to patent THC and take all the marijuana revenue next)

    2. JCitizen

      Re: It's just a figurehead

      Yeah - I haven't heard of one thing this "Czar" did to improve the situation - not one. Seems like it was a totally ineffective left over from the Obama years.

      1. Darth.0

        Re: It's just a figurehead

        It was established in 2003, so you may want to add Bush to the list as well.

  8. PipV

    Trump's axing of cyber czar role has left more gaping holes in US defence

    There fixed it for you.

  9. 0laf

    the long read to day in the Gruniad is worth a read. Trump doesn't know what he's doing and really doesn't care. Seems doubtful the Russian's control him he's just too unstable, more likely they would seen to control those who influence him.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      So you are saying that the purpose of the President is to think he has all the power in the world but is actually a poor deluded narcissist whose only job is to distract attention from the person who really makes all the decisions?

      I think my pussy cat would like some fish, or at least I think that I think that. Perhaps the pussycat isn't real ...

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Pussy not eat his fish, pussy get thin and waste away, I think.

        You really should apologise to Douglas Adams


        The President in particular is very much a figurehead - he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. (DA - HHGTTG 1)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    could the crippling of cyber security be a longer term plan.

    so that if in the upcoming elections his party doesn't manage to produce decent results he will claim that all of the areas where they failed were hacked by mysterious outside forces (aka china or whoever trump has fallen out with by then).

    note that he has already set the stage for this by claiming to the security council that china is trying to influence the results because they don't want him in power.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "...he will claim that all of the areas where they failed were hacked by mysterious outside forces..."

      You mean, like Hillary did? ;-/

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        Buttery males!

      2. fajensen

        Hillary, The Loser! Nah, The Great One would not repeat a loser strategy and become associated with it, lest it rubs off on his greatness. No big thinking needed: Donald Trump is axing the Cyber Czar just because it is (he thinks) something Obama invented.

        Obama == Bad Person -> Everything Obama did is BaD!

  11. Lars Silver badge

    The sad thing is

    That it's difficult to know if it's better there is no new cybersecurity czar than one elected by Trump.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The sad thing is

      Um, President Trump has not and never will "elect" anyone to the US Government.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The sad thing is

        One man One vote - he is the one man and has the one vote

        (with apologies to Pterry and indeed Lord Vetinari)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese interference

    also love the fact that he's stating that theres Chinese interference in 2018 elections that haven't even happened yet but refuses the idea that the Russians could have possibly meddled in his election (using the exact same methods/tools etc). go figure.

    the job of Cyber-Czar sounds interesting...I could do it - but not with Trump as my boss. No thanks. I'd actually want to get things done.

  13. razorfishsl

    Clearly he was correct.

    3,000 Items outstanding at 2010.

    over 6 years later only 30% had been implemented.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      over 6 years later only 30% had been implemented.


      5% a year is probably quite good when top management (a) doesn't want to pay for it and (b) realises that they'll be expected to play by the security rules themselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But it's still Trump's fault.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there any evidence that this position has been beneficial for security? It would appear not. Consider that this organisation completely missed the mass illegal surveillance by the "security" agencies and the hacking of the election.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cut the guy some slack!

    He DOES have a re election campaign coming up.

    He will need all the help he can get from Moscow PR.

  16. EmilPer.

    was the old Czar any good ?

    Assuming the chatter about foreign IT interference in the elections helped Trump, then having an incompetent security guy in the cabinet is not worth his paycheck. Or her paycheck.

    Maybe they are still looking for a homeboy with the proper skills ?

  17. Spanners Silver badge

    "deliberately, and carelessly"

    deliberately, and carelessly, taken his eye off the ball

    Well, deliberately anyway. Farts actions are not necessarily careless. They should be if there is any intention of benefitting his country. His actions are very calculated - perhaps not by him though...

  18. John Savard


    I thought the NSA was supposed to be doing this, and a cyber tsar was just wasteful duplication!

  19. Tree
    Thumb Up

    Eveline Cismaru

    Hire this Eveline Cismaru Romanian babe for Czar. She successfully hacked into the CCTV cameras used by the police before Trump's inauguration. She knows what she is doing.

  20. Trollslayer

    Six letter words

    scare Trump and the cyber czar used words long than eight!

  21. onebignerd

    Nothing new

    DHS was caught not updating their systems just last month. This is something the U.S Government has failed at since President Regan first saw the movie War Games and asked if it was possible.

    The whole nonsense with our Government taking Kaspersky off their systems (which they are STILL struggling with) and Russia hacking, was just a diversion to cover up the fact that they can't secure an unplugged Playstation.

  22. Aodhhan

    Trump did the correct thing here. The cybersecurity tsar position didn't wield much authority; and therefore, not very effective at getting some things accomplished. It's not a position requiring congressional approval.

    The job now falls on Homeland Security, which wields a lot more authority when it comes to auditing and review. Homeland Security can now put the entire network infrastructure and operations along side many other critical systems in order to hand down major penalties to government agencies and their management.

    So before Trump bashers start repeating the idiocy of politics--and you really should be smarter than this. You should look at the entire picture, and not just the rants and raves of a few politicians from the DNC (who need to call on their assistants to log themselves in to their computers).

    The cyber tsar position was just another one of these "I'm doing something about it" jobs, without any teeth. They weren't in charge of anything but charts and PowerPoint. It is a job which costs taxpayers money, and does little. Even USCERT didn't fall within the grasp of the job, if this tells you anything.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like