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Trump puts off executive order on cybersecurity overhaul

By Doug G. Ware and Andrew V. Pestano
Trump puts off executive order on cybersecurity overhaul
President Donald Trump postponed signing an executive order late Tuesday that would have outlined efforts to upgrade cybersecurity in the executive branch. Pool Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump was expected Tuesday to order enhanced cybersecurity measures for the executive branch and direct federal agencies to review their own efforts -- but ended up postponing the action.

The president was expected to sign an executive order to put the Office of Management and Budget in charge of executive branch cybsersecurity on Tuesday afternoon. The edict also would have ordered federal agencies to establish their own standards as laid out in a framework by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Late Tuesday afternoon, the White House said Trump has postponed the action. No reason was immediately given for the move, though.

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"We must defend and protect federal networks and data," Trump said earlier Tuesday at a meeting with cybsersecurity experts. "We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important."

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The Trump administration's discussion of improved cybersecurity on Tuesday followed months of speculation and firm conclusions by the CIA and FBI that the Russian government attempted last year to intervene in the American presidential election with cyberattacks against partisan organizations, including the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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The legislative and judicial branches of government would not be affected by such an order, but Congress could assist Trump by providing funding to modernize federal systems.

The executive order also purportedly sought to prepare the U.S. government for attacks on the Internet and within U.S. infrastructure. A White House official had said Trump hoped the executive action would set a philosophy of proper cybersecurity management and will modernize the federal government's information technology structure.

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It wasn't known immediately when Trump might sign a cybersecurity order.

Tuesday marked the second time in less than a week that Trump postponed an expected executive action. Last Thursday, he put off signing an order to investigate allegations of voter fraud.

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