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Trump slams Pompeo for blaming Russia for huge cyber attack as he breaks his silence to say CHINA could be responsible and that voting machines may have been hit - but claims it is 'well under control'

 Donald Trump has hit out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for blaming Russia for the huge cyber attack on the US.

Tagging Pompeo, the president tweeted Saturday that China was behind the unprecedented hack on US government agencies and private sector firms, after the Secretary of State said on Friday that the Kremlin was to blame.

'There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA. @DNI_Ratcliffe @SecPompeo,' he wrote, also tagging Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.


'There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA. @DNI_Ratcliffe @SecPompeo,' he wrote on Saturday, in a public display that he disagreed with his two top officials. 

While the nation's cybersecurity agency has described the breach as a 'grave threat', Trump downplayed the hack which has compromised broad swathes of the federal government and private sector and has been described as the cyber equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

He brushed off its severity claiming it 'is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality' and insisted that 'everything is well under control'. 

Trump also once again pushed unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the presidential election, saying without evidence that voting machines could have been hacked.   

Donald Trump has broken his silence over the huge suspected Russian cyber attack claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before

Donald Trump has broken his silence over the huge suspected Russian cyber attack claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before

Trump tweeted claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before

Trump tweeted claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before



'The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control,' he tweeted.

'Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).' 

Trump's fresh attack on China comes as tensions have escalated between the two nations this year as the president has accused President Xi Jinping of a 'cover-up' of the pandemic and insists on calling coronavirus  'the China virus'. 

Meanwhile, Trump has something of a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has often refrained from criticizing his actions where other nations have.

Trump refused to accept findings of the Mueller report that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, while his response to the recent poison attack on Putin's opponent Alexey Navalny was that China is 'far worse.'

There have been no reports of any involvement of Beijing in the cyber attack and Trump provided no information or evidence as to why he thought China may be involved.  

He continued in a follow-up post claiming without evidence that voting machines may have been hacked and that he 'won big' in the election. 

Twitter marked this tweet with a warning stating that 'Election officials have certified Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. Presidential election.'

His comments come just hours after Pompeo became the first US official to publicly attribute the massive hacking campaign to Russia.

'There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of US government systems,' Pompeo told The Mark Levin Show on Friday.

'This was a very significant effort, and I think it's the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.'

Even before Pompeo's comments, Russia was thought to be behind the attack. 

Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping. Trump hit out at China claiming the nation could be behind the attack

Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping. Trump hit out at China claiming the nation could be behind the attack

Pompeo (pictured with his wife Susan) became the first US official to publicly attribute the massive hacking campaign to Russia Friday

Pompeo (pictured with his wife Susan) became the first US official to publicly attribute the massive hacking campaign to Russia Friday 

Trump breaks silence to downplay cyberattack on US government
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Several private security companies said the breach bears the hallmarks of a Kremlin operation. 

Some have pointed at the Russian hacking cell dubbed 'Cozy Bear' - though other experts argue that the tools and methods used in the new attack are different from any past breach, making attribution tricky. 

On Saturday Republican Senator Marco Rubio also pointed the finger at Russia tweeting that: 'The methods used to carry out the cyberhack are consistent with Russian cyber operations.' 

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman denied Kremlin involvement, and the Russian embassy said in a statement that the country 'does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain.'  

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe on Wednesday issued a statement revealing that the breach on government agencies was 'significant.' 

'This is a developing situation, and while we continue to work to understand the full extent of this campaign, we know this compromise has affected networks within the federal government,' he said. 


Trump has remained quiet on the cyber attack until now. He posted a Christmas card with Melania Trump Friday but again provided no comment on the hack.

Sources told CNN Saturday that the White House had prepared a statement blaming Russia for the attack and planned to release it Friday afternoon but were ordered not to. 

The insiders said the statement said Russia was responsible but that the government could not yet rule out involvement from others.

They said they were not told why the statement was not released.  

His silence did not go unnoticed with Democrats in Congress blasting Trump for failing to address the issue and demanding a harsh response on the perpetrators.  

'Our nation is under assault. This cyberattack could be the largest in our history. We don't yet know the extent of the damage, but we know that we weren't prepared & have our work cut out for us,' tweeted Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat Friday.

'We can't wait for leadership, we need it now. @realdonaldtrump, where are you?'

Crow also likened the attack to Pearl Harbour in a follow-up tweet: 'The situation is developing, but the more I learn this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor.'   

This heat map of infections created by Microsoft shows that those infiltrated by the hackers are spread out across the US

This heat map of infections created by Microsoft shows that those infiltrated by the hackers are spread out across the US


In contrast to Trump, President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement Thursday about the attack where he vowed to make cybersecurity 'imperative' when he takes office and said he would not 'stand idly by'.

'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,' Biden said in a statement. 

'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 cyberattacks.' 

While Trump attempted to brush off the severity of the hack, his comments come direct opposition to the concerns raised by top administration officials, politicians, tech giants and cybersecurity experts.  

The Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency said the attack posed a 'grave risk' to 'critical infrastructure' in both the public and private sector, and at all levels of government. 

'CISA has determined that this threat poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations,' the agency said Thursday. 

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Russia was behind the attack

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Russia was behind the attack

'CISA expects that removing this threat actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging for organizations.'    

The agency also warned the sophisticated attack was hard to detect and will be difficult to undo. 

Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, described the hack as an act of war telling MSNBC: 'It's pretty hard to distinguish this from an act of aggression that rises to the level of an attack that qualifies as war.'   

The sprawling attack compromised multiple government agencies, as well as a growing list of companies and local governments across the country. 

The two US agencies responsible for maintaining America's nuclear weapons stockpile have already said they were compromised in the attack. 

The attack also breached the Pentagon, FBI, Treasury and State Departments. 

Other victims to fall foul of the attack include the Pima County, Arizona governmen and cable television company Cox Communications Inc, according to Reuters. 

'The situation is developing, but the more I learn this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor,' said Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat

'The situation is developing, but the more I learn this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor,' said Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat

Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said: 'It's pretty hard to distinguish this from an act of aggression that rises to the level of an attack that qualifies as war'

Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said: 'It's pretty hard to distinguish this from an act of aggression that rises to the level of an attack that qualifies as war'

Microsoft said Friday it had already identified at least 40 government agencies and companies targeted by the hackers.  

A heat map of infections released by the tech giant, which has helped respond to the breach, shows that those infiltrated by the hackers are spread out across the US with agencies, companies and think tanks in New York, Washington DC and Texas among the hardest hit.   

Microsoft has not revealed the names of those infiltrated by the hackers but said nearly half were tech companies.  

The UK, Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates were also caught in the cross hairs. 

The breach was executed back in March and went undetected for nearly nine months fuelling concerns over the full extent of intelligence and top-secret information that may have fallen into the wrong hands.   

US officials on Friday revealed hackers had conducted a 'dry run' of their massive cyber attack more than a year ago.   

The hack involved a common software product made by Texas-based SolarWinds Corp, which is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations, ranging from government agencies to Microsoft and Fortune 500 companies. 

Trump posted this Christmas card photo on Friday with First Lady Melania as he continued to stay silent on the cyber attack

Trump posted this Christmas card photo on Friday with First Lady Melania as he continued to stay silent on the cyber attack

The hackers are believed to have targeted the company's network management software Orion back in October 2019, five months before executing the full-scale breach in March. 

A version of Orion was tampered with around that time, however it did not contain the secret network backdoor - which authorities are calling SUNBURST - at the time, according to the CISA. 

A source told Yahoo News it appears that the hackers wanted to do a test run to make sure the attack would 'work and whether it would be detected.' 

'They took their time. They decided to not go out with an actual backdoor right away. That signifies that they're a little bit more disciplined and deliberate,' the person added.    

SolarWinds, which disclosed its unwitting role at the center of the global hack on Monday, said up to 18,000 of its users downloaded a compromised update containing malicious code planted by the attackers. 

The company, which has come under scrutiny after investors offloaded shares in the days leading up to the attack, said the attack was the work of an 'outside nation state.' 

The true scale of who has been affected and what information has been stolen in the massive attack may never be known, officials and experts say. 

Experts say there simply are not enough skilled threat-hunting teams to properly identify all the government and private-sector systems that may have been hacked, and warn infected networks may have to be 'burned to the ground' and rebuilt from scratch.  

2 comments:

  1. Pompeo, like William Barr, is a Bush-friendly neoconservative. Trump's biggest mistake was to accept ANY Bush people into his administration.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They do not have to do any such thing...All they have to do is use their link-up with their secret ally...
    NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents

    Isn't it nice to know that all your personal scientific and business information is sent to Israel for further analysis, by China...Russia...the United Arab Emirates...India...Saudi Arabia...Egypt...Iran...etc...etc...etc...Go figure...

    ReplyDelete