President Donald Trump has missed a deadline he set himself to publish a report on the status of national cybersecurity and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said in a statement posted on his website Jan. 6, just two weeks before his inauguration. "There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful."
Trump added: "Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm."
According to Politico, Trump passed the 90-day mark April 20, and the White House has yet to offer a direct explanation.
"The president has appointed a diverse set of executives with both government and private sector expertise who are currently are working to deliver an initial cybersecurity plan through a joint effort between the National Security Council and the Office of American Innovation," said Trump deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters, in reference to the office run by Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner.
Ned Price, who served as spokesman for the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama, speculated that, if the White House has yet to begin compiling the report, it could be another 90 days before one is completed.
"This is not a simple issue," Price said, Politico reports. "If the clock really is at zero, we shouldn’t expect a well-produced report any time soon."
Michael Sulmeyer, director of the Harvard Belfer Center’s Cyber Security Project and former director of Cyber Policy Plans and Operations at the Defense Department, expressed concern about the potential ramifications of a missed deadline to analyze the weaknesses of the government's cybersecurity.
"It would set an unfortunate precedent to miss the president’s first important cyber-related deadline," he explained. "Ever the critic on the campaign trail, Trump and his cyber team now have the responsibility to keep the country safe from cyberattacks. Given so much attention on North Korea this past week, and that North Korea conducted one of the most serious cyberattacks against the United States, we should expect the new administration to be on the case."