WASHINGTON | While several American officials are alarmed by the scope of the gigantic cyberattack which targeted the United States, President Donald Trump minimized, on Saturday, the operation as well as the supposed role of Russia.
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“The cyberattack is much more prominent in the ‘Fake News’ media than it is in reality,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Everything is under control. Russia, Russia, Russia, it is the priority slogan when anything happens “, even if, assured the American president,” it could be China (it is possible!) “.
The day before, however, his own Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mike Pompeo, had formalized the suspicions of experts pointing the finger at Moscow.
“It was a very important undertaking, and I believe we can now say quite clearly that it was the Russians who engaged in this activity,” he said.
According to CNN, White House officials wrote a statement attributing the attack to Russia, which was due for release on Friday, but were ordered to cease broadcasting.
The hack was announced as Democratic President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take the helm of the country on January 20.
The chief executive of his transition team, Yohannes Abraham, said the attack was a source of “great concern” and that the Biden administration would respond to such intrusions by inflicting “considerable costs” on those responsible.
The estimated extent of the cyberattack continues to expand as more victims are discovered beyond the United States.
The hackers succeeded in compromising the Orion software of the American firm SolarWinds, used for the management and the supervision of computer networks of large companies or administrations.
Russia has denied being involved in the affair. “Russia does not conduct offensive operations in cyberspace,” the Russian embassy in Washington said.
Democrat Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee – and one of the head of state’s pet peeves since overseeing the team of prosecutors in his impeachment trial – has lambasted About Mr. Trump.
“Another scandalous betrayal of our national security by this president,” Mr Schiff tweeted. “Another dishonest tweet that could have been written by the Kremlin. Another mark of deference to Putin, ”he said.
Suspicions of a possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign team in 2016 had been investigated by a special prosecutor, which concluded with an absence of evidence.
On the Republican side, without mentioning Mr. Trump’s reaction, Senator Marco Rubio felt “increasingly clear that Russian intelligence carried out the most serious cyber intrusion in our history”.
“Our response must be proportional, but consistent,” he tweeted.
The case comes as the Trump administration has indicated it will close the last two US consulates in Russia to “optimize the work of the US mission in Russia,” according to the US State Department, which in briefed Congress earlier this month.
The American president, who has still not recognized his defeat in the presidential election on November 3, took the opportunity on Saturday to reaffirm without proof that fraud had affected the ballot.
“There could also have been an attack on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which I won hands down, it’s clear now, which makes it even more of a shame for the United States,” he wrote in a tweet immediately accompanied by a warning from Twitter on the result of the presidential election, won by Joe Biden.