President Donald Trump responded to the unprecedented cyberattack on multiple American government departments and private businesses, saying that the attack is “well under control” and being exaggerated by the “Fake News Media.”
Trump, who had not publicly commented on the attack until Saturday morning, placed blame on China, contradicting some U.S. government officials – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who have said that Russia was the most likely actor to have launched it.
“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,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, adding that the media was afraid to acknowledge that it could have been China, not Russia, who carried out the attack.
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020
Pompeo said Friday that it was clear that Russia was behind the attack, calling it a “grave risk” in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show.”
“I think it’s the case that now we can pretty clearly say that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity. This was a very significant effort,” Pompeo said, adding that “we’re still unpacking precisely what it is.”
The attack used an array of sophisticated tools to tap into dozens of government and private networks, including the Pentagon, the Treasury and U.S. nuclear laboratories. Intelligence agencies told Congress that the attack was likely carried out by the S.V.R., a top Russian intelligence agency that descended from the K.G.B.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, the F.B.I., Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that they were “investigating and gathering intelligence in order to attribute, pursue, and disrupt the responsible threat actors.”
Tom Bessert, the former homeland security advisor in Trump’s administration, wrote in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday that “the magnitude of this attack is hard to overstate,” and that the true extent of the attack could go unknown for years.