Fifty years ago last month, Robert Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It could have been prevented. At least, that’s what Congress determined shortly after his death when it authorized Secret Service protection for presidential contenders.
Today, it would be unimaginable to expect presidential campaigns to provide physical protection for their candidates. The risks of an attack are incredibly high, and campaigns simply do not have the sophistication, training or access to intelligence to do the job, especially if a sophisticated country such as China or Russia is the culprit.
But when it comes to cybersecurity, our approach is completely different. The Secret Service provides cyber-protection for the president when he travels, but it doesn’t offer the same treatment for campaigns. When I ran Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the FBI showed up unannounced in our lobby to tell us that Russians were sending spear-phishing emails months after we’d detected them ourselves. They couldn’t do anything to help us; they could only tell us they thought something was happening and ask for evidence.