Biden jokes with NBC reporter who asked him about Afghan evacuation

President Joe Biden joked with an NBC reporter on Wednesday about the evacuation in Afghanistan as thousands, including many Americans, struggle to leave the war-torn country as the Taliban takes over.

Biden, after making comments at the cybersecurity summit with several prominent businessmen, was asked by NBC’s Peter Alexander what he would do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after the August 31 deadline to withdraw US troops.

President Joe Biden joked with an NBC reporter about the evacuation in Afghanistan as thousands, including many Americans, struggle to leave

“You’re the first I call,” Biden joked in response.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s comments, pointing out that the president has provided numerous updates and received many briefings on the situation in Afghanistan.

“He has also emphasized that we are closely monitoring the threats from ISIS,” she said during her daily press conference.

Up to 1,500 Americans are waiting to be evacuated, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Wednesday.

He also said there is “no deadline” for attempts to evacuate US citizens and Afghan allies.

“That effort will continue every day after August 31,” Blinken noted. “People who want to leave Afghanistan after the US military has left should be able to.”

Desperate Afghan men, women and children have flooded the airport in an attempt to get out amid fears of an attack from the Islamic State’s offshoot ISIS-K and 10,000 evacuees wait inside the gates to get out. come.

The administration has been criticized by Democrats, Republicans and the international community for sticking to the August 31 deadline to remove troops, while critics feared the evacuation would not be completed in time.

Biden said Tuesday they are on track to complete it by that date.

His last comments came when he entered the service the private sector to help its administration fight malicious online cyber attacks.

“We’ve seen time and again how the technologies we rely on — cell phones, pipelines and the electrical grid — can become targets of criminals,” Biden said.

“The reality is that most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and the federal government cannot meet this challenge alone,” he said.

Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Tim Cook of Apple, Sundar Pichai of Google, Andy Jassy of Amazon and Satya Nadella of Microsoft were among those in attendance at the meeting in the White House dining room.

A United States Air Force guard aboard a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the evacuation of Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

A United States Air Force guard aboard a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the evacuation of Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

President Joe Biden hosted a number of prominent business leaders at the White House for a cybersecurity summit

President Joe Biden hosted a number of prominent business leaders at the White House for a cybersecurity summit

Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were among those attending the cyber summit

Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were among those attending the cyber summit

A senior government official described the meeting as a ‘call to action’.

“The federal government cannot solve this complex, growing international challenge alone, and we cannot do it overnight,” the official said during a briefing interview on Tuesday evening.

Representatives from the technology, finance, energy, education and insurance sectors will be present at the event.

At the summit, the government will ask the private sector to help them address the “causes of any malicious cyber activity,” the official said.

The summit comes after several companies faced ransomware attacks, in some cases extorting multimillion-dollar payments from major corporations. Colonial Pipeline, JBS Holdings and Microsoft have all been victims of malicious cyberattacks in the past year. The SolarWinds attack last year hit several government agencies.

The meeting also comes as Congress weighs a crackdown on Big Tech.

A legislative package approved by the House Judiciary Committee in June aims to overhaul US antitrust laws and reclaim power from tech companies.

The six bills in the package would make it harder and more expensive for tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Google to complete mergers, prevent them from discriminating against other companies, make it easier for prosecutors to choose where to take antitrust cases, and allow federal regulators to break down companies operating a dominant platform.

The legislation also prevents platforms from offering a product or service that users must purchase or use in exchange for access to the platform, which could affect the Fulfillment by Amazon service. Amazon is lobbying heavily against the legislation.

Topics at Wednesday’s summit include ransomware, critical infrastructure, supply chain security, cybersecurity education and a data breach insurance policy.

Top Biden officials, including Homeland Security, Energy and Commerce secretaries, will attend the summit as will Biden’s cybersecurity team.

The summit includes three breakout sessions focusing on critical infrastructure resilience; cybersecurity talent and staffing issues; and building stronger technology and insurance solutions.

The meeting is taking place as the White House discusses the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan and the evacuation there.

White House officials noted that the summit was announced last month and is going ahead as planned, a sign of how important the government considers cyber issues.

In May, Biden signed an executive order to strengthen government software security, require IT service providers to report attacks that could affect U.S. networks, and streamline information sharing.

President Biden’s Cyber ​​Summit

The White House on Wednesday released a preliminary list of attendees for President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity summit at the White House.

Representatives from the tech, financial, energy, education and insurance sectors will attend the event, discussing the growing threat of malicious ransomware.

Biden turns to the private sector to help him fight cybercriminals.

The attendees:

Biden Administration

• President Joe Biden

• Commercial Secretary Gina Raimondo

• Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

• Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas

• SBA administrator Isabel Guzman

• National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

• Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese

• Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond

• Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber ​​and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger

• National Cyber ​​Director Chris Inglis

• Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly

financial

• Bank of America – Brian Moynihan, President and CEO

• JPMorgan Chase – Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO

• TIAA – Thasunda Brown Duckett, President and CEO

• US Bancorp – Andrew Cecere, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer

Energy and water

• American Water – Walter Lynch – President and CEO

• ConocoPhillips – Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO

• Duke Energy – Chairman, President and CEO

• PG&E – Patti Poppe, CEO

• SJW Group – Eric Thornburg, CEO

• Southern Company – Tom Fanning, Chairman, President and CEO

• Williams – Alan Armstrong, President and CEO

Tech

• ADP – Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO

• Alphabet (Google) – Sundar Pichai, CEO

• Amazon – Andy Jassy, ​​​​CEO

• Apple – Tim Cook, CEO

• IBM – Dr. Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO

• Microsoft – Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO

Insurance

• Coalition – Joshua Motta, Founder and CEO

• Resilience – Vishaal Hariprasad, CEO

• Travelers – Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and CEO

• Vantage Group Holdings – Greg Hendrick, CEO

Education

• Code.org – Hadi Partovi

• Girls Who Code – Dr. Tarika Barrett

• Tougaloo College – Dr. Carmen Walters, President

• University of Texas System – JB Milliken, Chancellor

• Whatcom Community College – Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown, President

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