Trump Refused a CIA Plan To Eliminate Cyber Threat From Russia: Report
Before leaving office, former President Barack Obama ordered the country’s spy agencies to plan possible responses to cyber threats from Russia. Following the 2016 presidential the election, U.S. intelligence officials suggested ways to counter the Kremlin propaganda machine, including an idea for the CIA to use cyberweapons to “zap,” or neutralize, Russian websites and servers involved with troll accounts. But the Donald Trump administration has refused to pursue any of those responses, The Washington Post reported Monday.
As noted by The Post, “the United States intelligence community said in an assessment in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had orchestrated a cyber and media campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
But President Trump administration has been reluctant to accept the intelligence report, and the administration is divided on how to move forward, the Post reported,
Trump has praised Russian president Vladimir Putin on several occasions and was critical of a bill that he was forced sign in August increasing sanctions on Russia. He has called the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination with his presidential campaign a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
Citing intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, The Post reported that the Russian disinformation campaign has continued and cyber analysts, as well as current or former national security officials, have warned that such efforts will likely intensify as the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections approach.
“We know a lot more now than we did about all the different threats, whether it’s to our election systems or anything else,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in October at an event in New York City. “I would expect that we would do better, but I also expect that our adversaries don’t just coast, right? They up their game, too.”
On December 18, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN, referring to Putin, “He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president.”
The White House did not respond to a Political Dig request to comment on the report.