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The Former NSA Official Vying to Steer Biden’s Cyber Policy

Anne Neuberger is at the center of a bureaucratic tussle within the White House.

Neuberger at a White House press briefing on the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack in May.

Neuberger at a White House press briefing on the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack in May.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anne Neuberger, the Biden administration’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, organized a virtual summit on ransomware for Oct. 13, 2021. She invited representatives from about 30 countries and the European Union, but no one from several of the key U.S. agencies handling cybersecurity, including the Department of State, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the newly created Office of the National Cyber Director.

Officials at all three agencies eventually received invitations to attend, but only as observers, and people at State and CISA came away feeling rankled, according to five people familiar with the summit who requested anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive event. The flap reflected mounting tension within the Biden administration as different factions vie for control over a critical policy area—and reinforced the impression that Neuberger, a former star at the National Security Agency (NSA), has developed into a sharp-elbowed power player within the White House. “Anne basically ran the summit like it was a covert operation,” says a former senior U.S. cybersecurity official familiar with the planning, who asked not to be named because sensitive details are involved.