Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., continues to hold Jen Easterly’s nomination to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) until Vice President Kamala Harris visits the southern United States border, he reiterated yesterday.

Easterly’s nomination was advanced out of committee last week – along with those of now-confirmed National Cyber Director Chris Inglis and General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan – but still awaits a full-Senate confirmation vote as Sen. Scott has pledged to hold up votes on all DHS nominees at least in the very short term.

Harris is set to visit the border Friday, making a stop in El Paso, Tex.  Presumably, Sen. Scott would lift his hold on the Easterly nomination after that.

“More than 90 days after being named as the Biden administration’s lead to handle the massive border crisis it has created, it looks like Vice President Harris is finally going to make the trip,” Scott said in a release. “Last month, I said that I would hold all DHS political nominees until the White House got down to the border. I’m glad that I finally got their attention.”

In her nomination hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs June 10, Easterly made a stark comparison between the current rise of cyberattacks on the country and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.

“As noted by Tom Kean, Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, ‘We were unprepared. We did not grasp the magnitude of a threat that had been gathering over a considerable period of time. This was a failure of policy, of management, of capability, and, above all, a failure of imagination,’” Easterly said. “If the past year has taught us anything, it is the obligation we have as leaders to anticipate the unimaginable.”

Sen. Scott has made it clear he does not oppose Easterly’s nomination to lead CISA, so the pathway may be clear for her nomination to advance as early as next week.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.