The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 16, 2017
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
Claire M. Grady of Pennsylvania to be Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Grady assumed the position of the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy in June 2015. She serves as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and the Defense Acquisition Board on acquisition and procurement strategies for all major weapon systems programs and major automated information systems programs. She also leads policy for Department of Defense services acquisition. From February 2013 through May 2015, she was the Coast Guard s Deputy Assistant Commandant for Acquisition and Director of Acquisition Services. Ms. Grady served as the Coast Guard s Head of the Contracting Activity from 2007-2013. Ms. Grady previously served as the director of strategic initiatives in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Grady received a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Science in national resource strategy from National Defense University s Industrial College of the Armed Forces. She holds Level III acquisition professional certifications in contracting and program management. In 2010, Ms. Grady was recognized with the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.
David J. Redl of New York to be Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, Department of Commerce. Mr. Redl is currently Chief Counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. He serves as principal legal advisor to the Chairman and Members of the Energy and Commerce majority on communications and technology matters. Prior to his time with the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Redl was Director of Regulatory Affairs at CTIA – The Wireless Association, where his work focused on spectrum policy, wireless broadband, and reducing regulatory mandates. Mr. Redl earned a BA in Journalism and a BA in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University and a JD from the Catholic University of America. Mr. Redl is admitted to the New York and District of Columbia bars. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife, Amy and their son, Benjamin.
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Designate Members of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to designate the following individuals to be government representatives on the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
- Wilber L. Ross Jr., Secretary of Commerce
- Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor
President Donald Trump s decision to disclose highly classified information to Russia, which Israel reportedly provided to Washington, has put the intelligence services in crisis, according to a former senior Israeli intelligence official and recruiter of assets for Israel s Shin Bet security service. As Washington s key Middle East ally and partner on counter-terrorism, Israel has a longstanding intelligence sharing arrangement with the U.S., collecting intelligence on a range of threats to U.S. national security, including the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and the Iranian regime. According to The Washington Post, during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Oval Office last Wednesday, Trump disclosed details about an ISIS plot involving the use of laptops on airplanes.
The revelation that Israel was the ally who provided the intelligence that Trump passed on to now threatens a diplomatic crisis with a longtime ally.
Trump has made a crisis between Israeli intelligence and American intelligence, the former official and recruiter tells Newsweek by phone. (He asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.)
The Israeli government tells Newsweek Trump s visit to the country, in which he plans to revive the moribund peace process, will go ahead as planned. We have a schedule, we have a plan and everything is going ahead, absolutely, says Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, speaking over the phone from Israel. But that trip could now become much more awkward. Some Israeli officials speaking to Newsweek were cautious about how the leak would affect relations, emphasizing its severity but unable to predict how the situation would play out between the allies.
If it involves sources and how we got this information, then it is really serious. It is very damaging. Definitely a breach of confidence, says Uri Dromi, director of the Jerusalem Press Club and the former press spokesman of the Rabin and Peres governments between 1992 and 1996. You share this information because they are your best ally and there was reason to give this information. This is bad. But how bad is it? I don t know. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said the two intelligence services would continue to cooperate on counter-terror matters. Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump, he told The New York Times in an email statement Tuesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shake hands following a joint news conference at the East Room of the White House February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. intelligence officials reportedly told their Israeli counterparts not to share sensitive intelligence with Trump over concerns of that intelligence exchanging hands with rival powers. Win McNamee/Getty
But the fallout could still seriously affect day-to-day working relationships so much so that Israel ultimately ceases its sharing of specific, sensitive information with Washington, according to the former senior Shin Bet official. That includes the kind of intelligence that would matter to U.S. interests at home and abroad.
The fact that the American president is revealing information to other countries, to Russia, for Israel it will lead us to stop giving any intelligence to the Americans, says the official, who maintains ties to Israeli intelligence circles. I can t see how the Israeli intelligence can keep giving sensitive intelligence to the Americans. Trump s reported disclosure of Israeli information gathered from Syria a particularly sensitive area for security services has left many in Israeli intelligence circles angry at his lack of care with sensitive information. Trump allegedly revealed the city in ISIS-held territory where, according to his intelligence briefing, the U.S. ally retrieved evidence that the militant group is actively planning to smuggle a laptop wired with an explosive onto an airliner. The information of the location and nature of the plot threatens to give away Israeli intelligence methods to Russia. Israel fears that Moscow, allied with Iranian forces in Syria, may then pass the intelligence onto Tehran, its longtime enemy.
Many in the White House were quick to downplay the incident before officials identified Israel as the ally in question, saying it was not the first time that key intelligence relationships have been undermined. A senior State Department official, speaking to Newsweek earlier on Tuesday on condition of anonymity, said working-level relationships would be maintained for two reasons: first, political leadership changes but the security service personnel remain; and, second, partners need to work with Washington.
They said that about Wikileaks, they said that about the Snowden leaks as well, the official says, refuting the suggestion that allies will be less forthcoming with sensitive intelligence. I have not seen after any of these instances over the last few years, a drop off in willingness to talk about these things. Trump and his White House team have defended his conversation with the Russian officials as wholly appropriate. The president tweeted on Tuesday that he spoke to the Russians about counter-terrorism for humanitarian reasons and in hope of pulling Moscow into a greater effort to defeat ISIS. He said he shared facts but did not refer to highly classified intelligence. The former recruiter of human assets for Israeli intelligence said Trump, in divulging sensitive operational information, failed to recognize the significant danger it would create for any Israeli operative in Syria.
I need to tell you how much effort we put in order to keep our assets safe. You are trying to keep someone alive and safe, and he is working within the ISIS population, which is not really a summer camp. And now the American president is putting [this person at] risk, the intelligence official says, speculating that it could be a human source within ISIS territory that has been compromised.
Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israel s National Security Council and national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says the breach is inexcusable. If this country loses the asset, it’s a very bad consequence to a mistake he made. No question and no one can defend it, because it s very, very hard to have assets in such organizations, says Amidror.
Trump did not reveal Israel s method of information gathering in the jihadist group s self-declared caliphate, according to officials, but the revelation itself and the administration s leaks to the U.S. press could have a significant impact on Israel s ability to retrieve vital intelligence on ISIS s inner workings. The use of human sources is essential for an intelligence agency to carry out its work, since they are able to obtain specific intelligence from more sensitive situations that trained spies cannot access.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. President Donald Trump. Maxim Zmeyev/Lucas Jackson/Reuters
The basics between an asset and a handler is the fact that you always do the maximum to keep him safe, the former spy says, saying that some people will come to their handlers and refuse to cooperate further because their safety has been undermined.
[In Trump] you see someone that doesn t understand intelligence. He s an egomaniac and he thinks he knows best. He is a narcissist and really just a careless person who doesn t understand how much those people risk their lives to keep us all safe. Other Israeli intelligence agents told Buzzfeed that Trump s disclosure was Israel s worst fears confirmed about the American president. In January, U.S. intelligence officials warned Israeli counterparts against sharing sensitive information with the Trump team because of concerns about potential ties to the Russian government. The former intelligence official speculates that leaks relating to Trump s meeting with Lavrov is a direct result of his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week, just a day before the meeting. Democrats speculated that Trump, whose associates are subject to an FBI investigation into alleged ties with Russia, fired Comey in an attempt to obfuscate probe on Russian meddling in the presidential election.
You don t need to be a genius to understand that whoever leaked the story about Trump talking to the Russians, everything is related the fact he fired Comey, he says. I think it s amazing to see how the intelligence agency is working against the president. I don t remember something in the last 20 years like this.”
- ^ reportedly provided (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ Subscribe to Newsweek from $1 per week (subscription.newsweek.com)
- ^ Read more: U.S. officials ‘warned Israel’ not to share sensitive intel with Trump (www.newsweek.com)
- ^ The New York Times (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ speaking to Newsweek earlier on Tuesday (www.newsweek.com)
- ^ tweeted (twitter.com)
- ^ Related: Trump’s Russia ties could hurt key U.S. allies in the Middle East (www.newsweek.com)
- ^ Buzzfeed (www.buzzfeed.com)
- ^ against sharing sensitive information (www.newsweek.com)
WASHINGTON The global WannaCry “ransomware” cyber attack slowed on Monday, with no major infections reported, as global law enforcement agencies shifted their attention to finding the hackers who unleashed it.
The attack infected 300,000 machines in 150 countries, said Tom Bossert, U.S. President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser. That would make it one of the fastest-spreading online extortion campaigns in history.
Stocks of cyber security companies surged as investors bet on governments and corporations spending to upgrade their defenses.
The U.S. government is investigating whether the attack was launched by cyber criminals or a foreign nation state, Bossert said, noting that the perpetrators had raised less than $70,000 from users looking to regain access to their computers.
“We are not aware if payments have led to any data recovery,” Bossert said, adding that no federal government systems had been affected.
Private cyber security experts said they were not sure if the motive of the attack was primarily to make money, noting that most large ransomware attempts pull in millions of dollars of revenue.
I believe that this was spread for the purpose of causing as much damage as possible, said Matthew Hickey, co-founder of British cyber consulting firm Hacker House.
The countries most affected by WannaCry to date are Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, according to Czech security firm Avast.
The number of infections has fallen dramatically since Friday s peak when more than 9,000 computers were being hit per hour. By afternoon on the U.S East Coast, new infections had fallen to the low hundreds of machines and continue to decline, Avast said.
Earlier on Monday, Chinese traffic police and schools reported they had been targeted as the attack rolled into Asia for the new work week, but no there were no major disruptions.
As the immediate threat receded, authorities and researchers in Europe and the United States turned their attention to preventing hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.
A new variant of the ransomware did surface on Monday, according to Check Point Software Technologies Ltd (CHKP.O), but the cyber security firm said it stopped it from damaging computers by activating a “kill switch” in the software.
Investors focused more on opportunities the attack presented rather than the risk it posed to corporations, pushing up shares in firms that provide cyber security services, such as Israel’s Cyren Ltd (CYRN.O) and U.S. firm FireEye Inc (FEYE.O).
Network company Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) closed up 2.3 percent, making it the second-biggest gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock on the belief it would benefit from more network spending driven by security needs.
Beyond the immediate need to shore up computer defenses, the attack has turned cyber security into a political topic in Europe and the United States, including discussion of the role national governments play.
In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) President Brad Smith confirmed what researchers already concluded: the attack made use of a hacking tool built by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that had leaked online in April.
He poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret – in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare – against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.
On Monday, Bossert sought to distance the NSA from any blame.
“This was not a tool developed by the NSA to hold ransom data. This was a tool developed by culpable parties, potentially criminals or foreign nation-states, that were put together in such a way as to deliver phishing emails, put it into embedded documents, and cause infection, encryption and locking,” Bossert said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting the technology’s link to the U.S. spy service, said it should be “discussed immediately on a serious political level.”
“Once they’re let out of the lamp, genies of this kind, especially those created by intelligence services, can later do damage to their authors and creators,” he said.
In Britain, where the virus first raised alarm when it caused hospitals to divert patients on Friday, it gained traction as a political issue just weeks before a general election. The opposition Labour Party accused the Conservative government of leaving the National Health Service (NHS) vulnerable.
“The government’s response has been chaotic,” Labour’s health spokesman Jon Ashworth said. “If you’re not going to allow the NHS to invest in upgrading its IT, then you are going to leave hospitals wide open to this sort of attack.”
Britain’s NHS is the world’s fifth-largest employer. The government says that under a previous Labour administration the trusts that run local hospitals were given responsibility to manage their own computer systems.
Asked if the government had ignored warnings over the NHS being at risk from cyber attack, Prime Minister Theresa May told Sky News: “No. It was clear (that) warnings were given to hospital trusts.”
British health minister Jeremy Hunt said it was “encouraging” that a predicted second spike of attacks had not occurred, but the ransomware was a warning to public and private organizations.
RANSOM VIA BITCOIN
Some victims were ignoring official advice and paying the $300 ransom demanded by the cyber criminals to unlock their computers, which was due to double to $600 on Monday for computers hit by Friday’s first wave.
So far only a few victims of the attack appeared to have paid, based on publicly available bitcoin accounts on the web, where victims have been instructed to pay.
The initial ransom demand was $300 per machine. Three days after becoming infected the demand doubles. Starting on Monday, the first victims began facing demands of $600 to unlock their machines.
This coming Friday, victims face being locked out of their computers permanently if they fail to pay the $600 ransom, said Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a London-based private security company that investigates ransomware attacks.
As of 1400 GMT, the total value of funds paid into anonymous bitcoin wallets the hackers are using stood at just $55,169, from 209 payments, according to calculations made by Reuters using publicly available data.
Brian Lord, managing director of cyber and technology at cyber security firm PGI, said victims had told him “the customer service provided by the criminals is second-to-none,” with helpful advice on how to pay: “One customer said they actually forgot they were being robbed.”
Companies and governments spent the weekend upgrading software to limit the spread of the virus. Monday was the first big test for Asia, where offices had already mostly been closed for the weekend before the attack first arrived.
Renault-Nissan (RENA.PA) (7201.T) said output had returned to normal at nearly all its plants. PSA Group (PEUP.PA), Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE), Toyota (7203.T) and Honda (7267.T) said their plants were unaffected.
British media were hailing as a hero a 22-year-old computer security whiz who appeared to have helped stop the attack from spreading by discovering a “kill switch” – an internet address which halted the virus when activated.
Individual European countries and the United States saw infections at a rate of only 10 percent to 20 percent of the most affected countries, according to the researcher who stumbled on the kill switch.
The virus hit computers running older versions of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) software that had not been recently updated. Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks. The company’s shares were down about 1 percent on Monday, in a slightly higher broad market.
Infected computers appear to be largely out-of-date devices. Some were machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions, difficult to patch without disrupting operations.
(Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Jim Finkle, Cate Cadell, Jemima Kelly, Noel Randewich, Eric Auchard and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Peter Graff and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Peter Millership and Bill Rigby)
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