- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

President Trump said Tuesday the hacking of the Democratic National Committee stands out as a “good example” of the need for effective cyber security measures throughout private industry and the federal government.

“The Democratic National Committee was hacked successfully, very successfully, and terribly successfully,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a White House meeting with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been tapped by the president as an informal adviser on cybersecurity.

Mr. Trump had been expected to sign an executive order to review and beef up the government’s cyber security efforts, but the White House canceled the signing without explanation. The meeting with Mr. Giuliani was billed as a “listening session.”

U.S. intelligence agencies said Russian operatives hacked the DNC records to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last year. Mr. Trump has said he accepts the conclusion that Moscow was responsible, but didn’t mention Russia in his remarks Tuesday.

The president said hackers also tried but failed to infiltrate the Republican National Committee.

“We had a very strong defense system against hacking,” Mr. Trump said of the RNC.

The president said he intends to hold his Cabinet secretaries and agency heads “totally accountable for the cyber-security of their organizations.”

“We must protect federal networks and data,” Mr. Trump said. “We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important.”

Mr. Giuliani, a top campaign ally of Mr. Trump who heads the cybersecurity firm Giuliani Partners, said the government needs to work as a partner with the private sector on cybersecurity.

“By speaking out on this and holding regular meetings on it and using the bully pulpit, the presidency, you get the private sector to wake up,” he told Mr. Trump. “Some of the private sector have to wake up to the fact that they have to do more.”

The federal government was subjected to some huge and embarrassing hacks during the previous administration, including one blamed on China that resulted in the theft of millions of records on current and past government employees from the Office of Personnel Management.

During the presidential campaign, the Obama administration blamed Russian operatives for hacking into Democratic Party records to harm Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. Mr. Trump feuded with some in the intelligence community, especially former CIA director John Brennan, over its findings that Russia was responsible. The president later stated that he accepted that conclusion.

Among those attending the meeting were chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Mike Flynn, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Director of National Intelligence-nominee Sen. Dan Coats, and White House counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Tom Bossert.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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