A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This is real common sense. This is not what passes for Trump administration “common sense.” A new memo, dated October 17, from the resigning branch chief of the White House computer network defense, Dimitrios Vastakis, warns of real shortsighted and dangerous thinking on the part of our current administration. Axios published the internal memo on Wednesday.
In 2014, the Obama administration created the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (OCISO) after hackers, believed to be of Russian origin, were able to compromise unclassified networks inside of the White House. According to Axios, since Trump took office, “at least a dozen top- or high-level officials have resigned or been pushed out.”
The memo calls into question the move by the Trump administration to fold the power structure of the OCISO into a Defense Department organization called the White House Communications Agency, saying it was “in ‘direct conflict’ with the advice of the Office of Administration’s general counsel.”
Vastakis’ memo/resignation explains his belief that the entire department is threatened as top officials have embarked on a campaign where “revocation of incentives, reducing the scope of duties, reducing access to programs, revoking access to buildings, and revoking positions with strategic and tactical decision making authorities” squeezes out the experts in the field.
Vastakis concludes his memo with the frightening admonitions that “the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again. Allowing for a large portion of institutional knowledge to concurrently walk right out the front door seems contrary to the best interests of the mission and the organization as a whole.”