- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2017

The Senate Armed Services Committee is weighing whether to subpoena White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce after the Trump administration blocked him from testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill.

“I request that you subpoena the appropriate White House official to appear before the Armed Services Committee to discuss efforts to defend the Nation from cyberattack,” Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, wrote in a letter Thursday addressed to committee leadership, The Hill first reported.

“It is troubling that the White House prevented the Cybersecurity Coordinator—the Administration’s top cybersecurity official—from testifying at [Thursday’s] hearing. This is unacceptable,” Mr. Nelson, the top Democrat on the Armed Services subcommittee on cybersecurity, wrote to Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, and ranking member Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat.

Mr. Joyce had been invited to testify at Thursday’s committee hearing, but the White House blocked his appearance citing both executive privilege and a precedent against having unconfirmed National Security Council staff testifying before Congress, Mr. McCain said.

“[Mr. Joyce] is in charge of one of the major challenges, major issues of our time and now he’s not going to be able to show up because he’s ‘counselor to the president,’” Mr. McCain said during Thursday’s hearing, calling his absence “a fundamental misalignment between authority and accountability in our government today when it comes to cyber.”

“The committee is going to have to get together and decide whether we’re going to sit by and watch the person in charge not appear before this committee,” Mr. McCain added. “That’s not constitutional.”

Thursday’s hearing on Capitol Hill centered around cybersecurity and featured testimony from members of the Defense Department, FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Joyce, a former director of the National Security Agency’s elite hacking division, the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit, was chosen in March to manage the Trump administration cybersecurity policy efforts.

“Cyberwarfare is one of the greatest threats to our Nation’s security,” Mr. Nelson wrote in his letter to committee leadership, The Hill reported. “Clearly, much more must be done to adequately defend the Nation, and it will require the leadership of the White House and cooperation with Congress.”

The White House did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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