News & Politics

Trump Downplays Massive Cyberattack, Contradicting Pompeo

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Almost every cyber expert agrees that the massive cyberattack that hit U.S. government agencies was extremely serious — the extent of which won’t be known for weeks.

But cyber expert Donald Trump disagrees.

Well, he’s the president and if he says the hack is “far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality,” it’s got to be true. Even if it isn’t.

And that raises a troubling question. Just about the entire national security tech infrastructure believes that the hack originated in Russia. There is absolutely zero evidence that China was involved. What is Trump doing trying to blame China for a Russian act of aggression?

And how did voting machines play into it? The hack was achieved by placing malware in a third-party software update that never went anywhere near a voting machine.

This was a very serious hack of our systems and it does little good for a president to deny the reality of how bad it was and — worse — claim that “everything is well under control.” Everything is nowhere near under control and Trump’s tweets on the subject make it appear he’s out of touch with what’s going on in the government.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes otherwise.


“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,” Pompeo had said of the cyber hack in an interview Friday on “The Mark Levin Show,” adding: “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.”

The administration was prepared to release a statement on Friday that would have acknowledged the seriousness of the hack and placed the blame on Russia. But at the last minute, the White House nixed the statement, leaving officials scrambling to reconcile what Pompeo said and what Trump tweeted.

Unpacking the extent of the hack will take weeks given the number and diversity of federal agencies that were targeted.

At least half a dozen federal agencies are now known to have been targeted in the breach, including the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber arm and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and State. Investigators are still trying to determine what, if any, government data may have been accessed or stolen in the hack.

“Suffice it to say, there was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of US government systems and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well,” Pompeo said.

In truth, there isn’t much that Trump can do except acknowledge the reality of the situation. But since he won’t even acknowledge the reality of his election defeat, I suppose it’s too much to expect him to acknowledge something as trivial as a hack of his government’s systems.