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Rep. Mike Gallagher (L) and Sen. Angus King discussing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Photo: Cheriss May for Axios

On Tuesday morning, Axios White House and politics correspondent Margaret Talev hosted a series of one-on-one conversations to discuss cybersecurity and the news of the day.

Watch the recorded livestream here.

Sen. Angus King and Rep. Mike Gallagher

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), leaders of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, announced the release of a report that calls for the creation of a coherent cybersecurity policy at the federal level. They outlined the need for clearly delineated rules around deterrence against cyberattacks, as well as the need for increased U.S. engagement with the international community on these issues.

Sen. Angus King

  • On a sense of urgency on this subject within the legislature: "There’s a tipping point ... people realize how serious this threat is because of IoT, 5G and autonomous vehicles. The threat is very real and getting more serious."
  • Why Congress has to get this right: "Structure is policy. If you’re going to have messy incoherent structure, you’re going to have messy incoherent strategy."

Rep. Mike Gallagher

  • On working across the aisle in cybersecurity policy: “I see an enormous bipartisan consensus, and I don’t see that changing regardless of who wins the election.”
  • On taking a stand in cybersecurity policy: “I would reject any source of moral equivalence between us and Russia and China. [Our cyber policy] is defensive, and it’s in partnership with our allies. We are acting in concert with the free world.”
Lisa Monaco, former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser at the White House
Lisa Monaco being interviewed by Margaret Talev on Tuesday morning. Photo: Cheriss May for Axios

Former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, Lisa Monaco highlighted the intersection of cybersecurity and pandemic disease and underscored the critical need for international collaboration.

  • On the risks of disinformation during a time of crisis: "The biggest threats we face today don’t know any borders. ... We’re seeing an epidemic of disinformation when it comes to coronavirus [and] we should anticipate other state actors to use this opportunity to sow discord and division."
  • On the importance of multilateralism: "You can’t successfully isolate bad actors if you don’t bring other countries along with you … [right now] we’re on the outside looking in and that’s a bad place to be."
Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Christopher Krebs in conversation with Margaret Talev. Photo: Cheriss May for Axios

Director of CISA at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Christopher Krebs discussed how the cyber issues are being communicated to the public, as well as topics around election security.

  • On cybersecurity in the context of coronavirus: "We’re trying to separate the tactical information of today from the strategic issues ... how are we managing things like telecommunications."
  • On election fairness: “Our preparations and protections for the 2020 election are far beyond our preparation for the previous election. ... This will be the most secure and most protected election ever in the United States of America.”

Thank you, Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

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Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.

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