Serious security concerns are facing the incoming Trump administration

Following the most recent FBI report on the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC, President Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence met with members of the Intelligence Community on Friday.

Following the meeting, Trump released the statement stating:

“I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.  
While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyberinfrastructure 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. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.
Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks. 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. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.”

Following the Friday meeting, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence spoke directly to the press pool at 5:50 PM EST.

“We just finished a busy afternoon here at the transition office. We received an important intelligence briefing from the leaders of our intelligence community. But before I speak to that, let me say our – the hearts of every American are in Fort Lauderdale tonight. The President-Elect and I send our prayers and our thoughts to the victims of this attack, their families, to the courageous first responders and to all the citizens of the Ft Lauderdale area.

We just hung up from our latest conversation with Gov. Rick Scott.  He has briefed the President-Elect and myself several times this afternoon and we’re grateful for his leadership, and again, that of all the first responders in the Ft Lauderdale area and a heartbreaking loss of life. And as I said, the hearts of every American are in Ft Lauderdale tonight.

We did this afternoon complete an extensive briefing from the leaders of our intelligence community. It was as the President-Elect said, a constructive and respectful dialogue. The President-Elect has made it very clear that we are going to take aggressive action in the early days of our new administration to combat cyber-attacks and protect the security of the American people from this type of intrusion in the future. But I know the President Elect appreciated the presentation made by the leaders of our intelligence community and I know the President-Elect and I both appreciate the sacrifices that the men and women who serve in our intelligence services around the country and around the world provide in contributing to the safety and security of the American people. Thank you very much,” sad Vice President-elect.

Pence repeatedly declined questions from the press pool about whether or not he fully concurs with the intelligence community assessment on Russian hacking.

Following the FBI report, President Obama was asked by the White House press pool while leaving Blair House if he had read the report and if he had discussed this with Trump.  President Obama heard the question but did not reply.

 The tragic shooting at Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport

This all took place following the tragic shooting at Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida, further showing the serious security concerns facing the incoming Trump administration.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price released the following on President Obama’s actions following the Ft Lauderdale shooting:

“The President spoke by phone today with Florida Governor Rick Scott and Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief following the tragic loss of life at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The President, on behalf of the American people, extended his sincere condolences to the families and other loved ones of those killed and noted that his thoughts and prayers are with the wounded. He added that federal authorities will continue to assist the ongoing investigation into this horrific shooting.”

Dan Coats to serve as the Director of National Intelligence

The President-Elect has also announced on Saturday his intention to nominate Former US Sen. Dan Coats to serve as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

“I’m very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as Director of National Intelligence,” said President-elect Trump. “Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community. If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”

“It is an honor to be nominated as Director of National Intelligence,” said Sen. Coats. “A robust and responsible intelligence infrastructure is essential to our homeland security, and if confirmed I will ensure our national security decision-makers have every piece of information they need to protect the American people from the threats facing our nation.  There is no higher priority than keeping America safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen.”

Coats would be replacing James Clapper. Clapper has expressed strong support for sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the alleged hacking of the DNC.

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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