- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2017

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani will be the Trump administration’s liaison with the private sector on cybersecurity, the presidential transition team announced Thursday, giving the key Trump ally a plum unpaid adviser’s role.

“My job is going to be to find the corporate leaders, people who are working on the new solutions, and from time to time, set up meetings with the president and whomever else he wants, so that they can give him the benefit of what they’re doing,” Mr. Giuliani told reporters at Trump Tower.

Mr. Giuliani is head of cybersecurity at the firm Greenberg Traurig, and will keep that post as well as remaining head of his Giuliani Partners security consulting company, while serving as an adviser to the Trump team.

Mr. Trump has declared cybersecurity to be a top priority of his early days in office, and has said he will have a task force come up with a plan within 90 days on what steps the U.S. needs to take to stiffen its defenses.

The moves come as Mr. Trump and Democrats spar over the role of Russian hacking in influencing November’s election.

This week, the Trump team has fended off news reports that Russian intelligence officials believe they have compromising information on the president-elect, but didn’t release it during the campaign because they wanted him to win.

Mr. Trump refuted the reports, and warned it would be embarrassing for the U.S. intelligence community if it was behind the leak.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper took the step of calling Mr. Trump Wednesday evening to tell him he didn’t believe the U.S. intelligence community was responsible for the leak.

Mr. Giuliani said he has found from working in both the federal government and city government that leaking happens when there’s low morale or poor leadership at the top.

He also said he isn’t concerned about a potential “brain drain” of intelligence analysts resigning because of low morale.

“The reality is that people who want to serve the United States in the area of intelligence, and I’ve worked with them for many, many years — 17 years in the Justice Department — are extremely capable people,” he said. “Are some of them not? Yes.”

Mr. Trump has maintained that Russian hacking is only a part of the problem, and he’s said China and other nations pose potentially bigger threats. Democrats have criticized that approach, accusing Mr. Trump of reluctance to finger Russia.

Mr. Giuliani sided with Mr. Trump, saying there is more to cybersecurity than a focus on Russia.

“The Russian hacking, although obviously very notorious and very big news, to me is only part of what goes on almost every day,” Mr. Giuliani said. “China, North Korea, Iran, and then friendly nations as well, business, people.”

“Hacking is ubiquitous, and the defenses to it aren’t as robust as the methods that people have for hacking,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani applauded Mr. Trump for calling for changes to how the intelligence community operates and said, for example, that there could be closer coordination between the FBI and local police departments in some cases.

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