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Biden taps Republican official for key cybersecurity post

Trump fired the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for telling the truth. Biden is approaching CISA in a different way.


Before last fall, the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was a relatively obscure department, though its work is important. As regular readers may recall, CISA spent much of 2020, among other things, combatting foreign interference in our elections and preventing attacks.

The office was led by Christopher Krebs, who served as the nation's top cybersecurity official, and who earned bipartisan praise for his work. The Washington Post's David Ignatius noted, "When the history books about this election are written, Krebs will be one of the heroes."

The day Ignatius' column was published, Donald Trump fired Krebs. The then-president wanted CISA to go along with ridiculous lies about the 2020 elections, and when Krebs instead told the truth, he was shown the door.

President Joe Biden is going in a very different direction. NPR reported yesterday:

Throughout 2020, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a lifelong Republican, wasn't having any of then-President Donald Trump's unrelenting and unsupported claims of election fraud. Now, the GOP official has been tapped by the Biden administration to help protect the nation's election system. In a post on Twitter, Wyman announced she'll be stepping down from her current role on Nov. 19, to serve as the election security lead for the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The report added that Wyman is "nationally regarded as an expert on mail-in balloting and security."

CISA Director Jen Easterly said in a statement, "Kim's reputation is second to none." Even Krebs weighed in via Twitter, adding that Wyman "is the real deal and a true professional."

In terms of the partisan dynamics, it may seem odd to see a Democratic president choose a Republican elected official for such an important position, but it's important to realize that Wyman is hardly a Donald Trump acolyte.

"Every time [Trump] makes these kind of flamboyant remarks that are just designed to inflame the base of the Republican Party, and to cast doubt on the outcome of the election, it undermines our democracy. And you know, that's not okay," she said last fall. "One of the reasons that our country works is that we have a representative form of democracy and our republic has survived over 240 years for a reason. And it's because people believe the results of the election."

More recently, Wyman condemned the sham "audit" process launched by conspiracy theorists in Arizona. "The precedence of this is just unnerving for election officials across the country, and it should alarm every American in the country," she said in May.

In other words, Wyman may be a lifelong Republican, but she's the kind of official the former president is eager to drive from the party.

This is not a Senate-confirmed position. If GOP senators disapprove of the Democratic president's choice, they're not in a position to object.