One day after the president’s own secretary of state pinned the blame on Russia for recent cyber attacks, Trump falsely claimed the incident has been exaggerated by “the Fake News Media”
Trump’s first public remarks on the massive and ongoing cyberattack that breached dozens of US federal agencies, think tanks, and companies were aimed at continuing the president’s cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin — while showing little regard for what his own national security officials are saying.
On Friday, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told conservative talk show host Mark Levin, “We can say pretty clearly [the hack] was the Russians.” But on Saturday morning, Pompeo was contradicted by his boss on Twitter.
In a tweet thread, Trump not only called into question Pompeo’s assessment but also falsely claimed that it was the media making something out of nothing.
“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. 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!),” the president wrote.
Pompeo’s comments from Friday also conflict with Trump’s notion that the hack is being blown out of proportion.
“I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified,” Pompeo said while adding, “This was a very significant effort.”
When asked during the interview about the president’s previous silence on the matter, Pompeo said Trump was simply looking out for the safety of the American people. He said that sometimes the “wiser course of action to protect the American people is to calmly go about your business and defend freedom,” the secretary said.
Trump’s assessment does not fly with what investigators are finding. According to NBC News, the FBI’s cyber division said preliminary indications suggested whoever was responsible had “a high level of sophistication consistent with a nation-state.”
Although Trump may say he is not worried, the breach has both federal officials and Congress concerned. Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) told CNN on Friday that the hack is comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Rep. Jason Crow calls the suspected Russian hack “our modern-day cyber Pearl Harbor.”
“We think that almost 20,000 different entities, both private companies and government agencies, downloaded and used that software … It’s extremely dangerous,” he says. https://t.co/lo5Br8ucDO pic.twitter.com/hBGy75Wtfg
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) December 18, 2020