President-elect Joe Biden plans to appoint Anne “Chani” Neuberger, a career intelligence official from the National Security Agency, to serve in a newly created cybersecurity role on his National Security Council, Politico reported on Thursday.
An Orthodox Jewish woman from Baltimore with over a decade of experience at the NSA, Neuberger was named head of the agency’s cybersecurity directorate in 2019.
According to two people familiar with the plans, Biden plans to name her as deputy national security advisor for cybersecurity in the incoming NSC, Politico reported.
Neuberger’s hiring and the creation of her new role serve as an indication that Biden intends to reestablish the importance of White House cybersecurity, after President Donald Trump eliminated the role of cybersecurity coordinator in 2018.
Neuberger will be responsible for coordinating federal cybersecurity efforts, and is likely to be in charge of a future US response to a massive and unprecedented cyberattack on US agencies carried out by suspected Russian hackers at the end of 2020, including breaches of the Treasury, State, Commerce and Energy departments.
She was the first female White House Fellow assigned to the Defense Department at the Pentagon. She was also the first Orthodox Jew that most of her colleagues at the NSA ever encountered, according to a first-person account published in 2012 in Jewish Action magazine.
Neuberger’s parents were among the hostages rescued by Israeli commandos from Entebbe Airport in 1976. She said that her family’s escapes – first from the Holocaust and then from the hostage situation in Uganda – have helped shape her worldview.
She said that while her parents are not Israeli, the Palestinians who hijacked the Air France flight to Entebbe knew her father was Jewish because he wore a kippah, so they decided to keep them as hostages as well.