The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a close Trump ally, is concerned that Russia could hack our next election. He told reporter Allison Kaplan Sommer in Tel Aviv earlier today that he’s “very worried” that there could be “cyber-interference” of a more serious nature than there was in 2016 — meaning interference that could alter vote totals and effect the election outcome. Giuliani’s admission is significant, and not just because it’s an admission — from someone so sympathetic to Trump — that the ongoing threat of Russian hacking is real and not “fake news.” Giuliani, who serves as the Chair of the Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management Practice at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, is also an informal advisor to Trump on cybersecurity issues.
Today’s Tel Aviv speaking engagement was in Giuliani’s Greenberg Traurig capacity, as part of a cybersecurity conference. But his dual role was emphasized; according to the invitation to the event, Giuliani also “leads a group of private sector representatives who share information about cyber security with President Trump and the Administration.” According to White House statements, Giuliani has met twice with the president to discuss cybersecurity — but only in the energy sector, financial industry, and hospitals.
All this raises a question: is Giuliani offering the president any advice on how to prevent the next hack, and what, if anything is the Trump administration doing to prevent it?
Trump by most appearances remains indifferent to doing anything about what cybersecurity experts have described as likely and intensified Russian interference in our 2018 midterm elections and beyond. Yet Giuliani’s comments show that at least some people close to Trump are attuned to the severity of the Russian hacking threat.