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Three top FBI officials quit as US cybersecurity threats mount

The mass exodus has been labeled "highly unusual".

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Loop Images/Alan Novelli via Getty Images

Looming cybersecurity threats are reportedly behind the departure of several cybersecurity officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to The Wall Street Journal, three of the top FBI officials -- Scott Smith, David Resch, and Carl Ghattas -- are exiting the bureau.

The resignations come amidst an "unprecedented" number of cyberattacks, which apparently include Russian meddling in the political system, as well as disputes with President Trump. Last year, the US President took a swipe at the FBI's reputation on social media, calling it "the worst in history".

Assistant FBI director Scott Smith is set to resign this month, and will be joined by David Resch, the FBI's executive assistant director of the cyber, response and services office. Meanwhile, the national security branch of the FBI will lose Carl Ghattas -- also an executive assistant director -- as he pursues other opportunities in the private sector.

All of the departures have been confirmed by the FBI.

In a statement, Resch assured the public that "the Bureau will remain the FBI the American people have depended on for 110 years". Those familiar with the decisions have labelled the mass exodus of senior officials as "highly unusual", particularly in the case of Smith, whose premature departure diverges from the standard practice of agents leaving after retirement age.

With the shadow of the 2016 election hacking still lingering, and concerns with present cybersecurity issues, senior US intelligence officials have cautioned the country has reached a "critical point".

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