Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become the first senior official in the Trump administration to come out and specifically blame Russia for what was widely reported this week as a “massive cyberattack on several US federal agencies,” including agencies that oversee the US nuclear arsenal, namely the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Without offering any evidence or details, Pompeo said Russia was “clearly enough” behind the cyberattack during a conservative radio appearance Show by Mark Levin.
“I can’t say much more, as we’re still unboxing exactly what it is, and I’m sure some will remain classified. But suffice to say that there was a significant effort to use third-party software to essentially integrate code into U.S. government systems and now there are systems of private companies and corporations and governments around the world, ”Pompeo explained.
“It was a very important effort, and I think we can now say quite clearly that it was the Russians who engaged in this activity.” he added.
Pompeo was then pressed to find out whether or not Trump was considering a particular response, to which Pompeo replied: “A wiser course of action to protect the American people is to go about your business calmly and defend freedom.
But once again, the administration’s definitive proof that Russia was behind the hack, which had been ongoing for months, was once again conspicuously absent. The multitude of headlines linking Russia to the breach this week also flawlessly contained language usually deep within the story, indicating that evidence or evidence was not yet available.
A number of independent media experts said it looked like possible last resort efforts to revive the previously failed Russiagate narrative.
The hack was reported a week ago with the Washington post alleging that Russian-backed hackers were behind it, after Orion Network Management products from Texas-based IT infrastructure provider SolarWinds, used in several industries and government applications, were breached earlier in the year.
“The compromise of SolarWinds’ Orion network management products presents unacceptable risks to the security of federal networks,” said Brandon Wales, Acting Director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The agency had issued an emergency directive to federal and civil agencies to scan their networks for suspicious activity and to immediately disconnect or shut down SolarWinds Orion products.
Trump will now be under pressure to “do something” without a doubt. This could take the form of sanctions against Russian agencies. The Washington Post previously confirmed that the FBI was now specifically investigating groups suspected of being linked to the Russian foreign intelligence service, SVR.
Russia has vehemently denied any involvement and has previously dismissed the allegations. “Once again, I can dismiss these accusations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “If for many months the Americans couldn’t do anything about it, then the Russians probably shouldn’t be baselessly blamed for everything.
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