I’m always reticent to discuss politically-aligned matters in professionally-oriented spaces like this one. Not because I have any particular aversion to politics (my Twitter and Facebook pages would seem to indicate the exact opposite), but because I generally don’t believe it’s appropriate to discussion subjective matters (like politics) in places where you should be as objective as possible (like anything professional).
Alas, it’s difficult not to be, at least, perplexed, by President Trump’s complete contempt of standard security operating procedure. Most recently, this manifested itself in the president receiving, reviewing, and discussing classified and, one presumes, highly sensitive material while seated for dinner at his Mar-A-Lago club, surrounded by unvetted club members and wait staff. The message was rather blindingly obvious: are you a foreign government seeking access to sensitive material? Pay some money to obtain a membership to Trump’s clubhouse. Everything will be all out in the open there.
And there is not some one-off event. A clear pattern is beginning to emerge:
- One week before Trump’s inauguration, it was reported that U.S. intelligence officials has begun to warn their Israeli counterparts against sharing info with the incoming Trump administration.
- On January 21st, Trump gave a speech to the CIA that was considered by many inside the organisation, including former head Michael Brennan, deeply disrespectful.
- On February 1st, a Yemen raid that would end in the death of noncombatants and the death of a U.S. Navy Seal was approved by the President over dinner.
- On February 9th, it was reported that the Chief Information Security Officer to the president had left his position; no one is yet confirmed to have filled the position. The CISO is responsible for the White House’s information security.
- On February 12th, it was reported that the intelligence community has begun “to withhold information from [the] White House,” fearing any information the reaches the president’s staff would be immediately available to the FSB.
- Just today, February 13th as I was finishing this summary, National Security Advisor Mike Flynn resigned from his post, dogged by accusations that he communicated with Russian officials, promising that the White House was going to lift sanctions against the country, and then lying to White House staff, including the Vice President, about it.
This is an administration is complete disarray. Mr Trump took office 25 days ago. Its level of contempt for basic opsec is simply unacceptable in an era where the U.S. may well be losing the “cyberwar” with both China and Russia.