President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly considering a downgrade for the State Department’s cyber security office.
Politico reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s top cyber diplomat, Christopher Painter, will be leaving his job at the end of July.
“Chris has been a tireless defender of American interests in cyberspace,” cyber researcher Jason Healey told Politico, “flying hundreds of thousands of miles a year to push our views of freedom online, conduct countless bilateral meetings with allies and friends and [champion] international engagement in multilateral settings.”
One source said that Painter had been forced out with two weeks notice.
The report also noted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “is considering closing the cyber office or merging it with another office and downgrading the cyber coordinator’s rank.”
“It’s a step back from everything done over the last ten years,” a source explained to Politico. “It’s clear they’re thinking about reorganizing it. … Clearly they don’t think it’s that important.”
According to Healey, closing the cyber office “would mean the United States would be the only major country without a lead diplomat to discuss cyber norms and trying to reduce the ever-escalating cyberattacks we see around the world.”
“It is not just a shame if the U.S. were to surrender that leadership, but would mean the future internet will have more Russian and Chinese characteristics,” he noted.