Russians Hacked Government Agencies–Is Anyone Surprised?

Is anyone surprised Russian hackers appear responsible for the worst US government cyber attack in history?

Is anyone surprised Donald Trump is downplaying it?

Last week news broke about suspected Russian government hackers infiltrating computer systems for the Defense Department, the Commerce Department, the Treasury Department, the State Department, Homeland Security, and the branch of the the Energy Department responsible for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Microsoft seems to be the only non-government entity affected.

Hackers have been poking around since March, yet we still don’t know what they accessed.

As alarming as this is, it should come as no surprise since Donald Trump has never acknowledged the bald-faced evidence of Russian hackers’ role in instigating chaos four years ago.

Denying any perfidy, Trump has spent his entire tenure as president actively re-allocating necessary cyber security funding and priorities.

Former FBI deputy director for counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, explained:

“How does something like this happen of this magnitude? Where 300,000 clients of a private company are potentially impacted including the most sensitive agencies in our government, it is because the Russias were able to find a single point of failure in our supply chain. We have a president diverting money, billions of it, to build a wall, changing personnel at the top of the Pentagon and we’ve not heard word one about the plan or strategy to respond to this ongoing attack.”

National security expert Julia Ioffe added:

“On one hand, Trump rewarded Putin for this and in fact he not only welcomed it. He also said in front of the whole world, he said that he believed Vladimir Putin when he said he didn’t meddle in the 2016 election; that Russia wasn’t involved in the hack and dump that led up to the 2016 election and I think for the Russians, I think that was a green light.”

Former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, who led the Trump administration’s cybersecurity efforts, including into 2016 election Russian interference before being ousted in 2018, wrote in a New York Times op-ed:“The magnitude of this ongoing attack is hard to overstate. [It will] take years to know for certain which networks the Russians control and which ones they just occupy. The remediation effort alone will be staggering. Entire new networks need to be built—and isolated from compromised networks.”

Yet Trump remains tight-lipped, opting instead to hunker down with his “elite strike force” hell-bent on overturning the Electoral College-certified election, calling for martial law.

Bossert wrote:

“President Trump is on the verge of leaving behind a federal government, and perhaps a large number of major industries, compromised by the Russian government. He must use whatever leverage he can muster to protect the United States and severely punish the Russians.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) added:

“I think the White House needs to say something aggressive about what happened. This is almost as if you had a Russian bomber flying undetected over the country, including over the nation’s capital, and not to respond in a setting like that is really stunning.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) echoed these sentiments, characterizing Russia’s actions “virtually a declaration of war by Russia on the United States and we should take that seriously.”

Needless to say, this is going to present President-elect Joe Biden an enormous challenge he should not have to face.

Showing more leadership on the issue than Trump, Biden remarked in a statement Thursday:

“Our adversaries should know that, as President, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation. I want to be clear: my administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government—and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office. We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government, further strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and expand our investment in the infrastructure and people we need to defend against malicious cyber attacks.”

January 20 cannot come soon enough so we can return to some semblance of sanity.

Or is it too late for that?

Image credit: The Last American Vagabond

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