Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Giuliani will give Trump a hand with ‘the cyber’

In the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State spoke in some detail about Russian cyber-crimes and Vladimir Putin’s government using technology to undermine its adversaries. The political world was too focused on her emails to appreciate the seriousness of her comments.

But in response, Trump’s answer referred to “the cyber” and insisted the United States must get “very tough on cyber.” The Republican quickly added, “I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”

Nearly four months later, I still don’t know what Trump was trying to say, exactly.

Regardless, the president-elect – who yesterday said he wants credit for the RNC’s security software – clearly needs some help when it comes to this issue. As the Wall Street Journal noted, Trump has turned to Rudy Giuliani.
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani would play what appears to be an unofficial role advising him on cybersecurity and private-sector developments in this area.

Mr. Giuliani has been a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump and was under consideration to be secretary of state. In an announcement Thursday morning, Mr. Trump did not give Mr. Giuliani an official title for this new role, saying only that he will be “sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend.”
It’s not at all clear what Giuliani will do, or whether the former mayor will serve on Trump’s new cybersecurity panel which is supposed to present him with policy suggestions 90 days after he takes office.

This may, in other words, be a courtesy role Trump is giving to someone who was passed over for assorted cabinet posts.

Still, Giuliani and national security don’t always mix well. I’m reminded of an old Alex Koppelman piece:
[A]s mayor, Giuliani was in a unique position to learn from the 1993 bombing and prepare his city for the next terrorist attack. He failed on both counts, with the most obvious evidence of his failure coming in the decision about where to place the city’s emergency command center: He ultimately chose the World Trade Center, which had been bombed only a few years earlier. […]

[In 2008], the New York Times revealed a memo prepared by the New York Police Department that revealed the NYPD’s strenuous objections to the choice. They had good reason to be concerned: On 9/11, the command center was useless, and – despite what Giuliani says now – it took hours for him to find a spot that could serve as a backup.
It’s quite a record for a guy who’ll be advising a president on security measures.