Sen. Angus King (I-ME) on Tuesday went off on the Trump administration’s seemingly passive response to Russian cyberattacks on American democracy.
During a hearing in front of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, King asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats why the Russian government still feels it has a free hand to launch cyberattacks aimed at undermining American elections.
“Director Coats, you have a stunning statement in your report: ‘[The Russians] will work to use cyber operations to achieve strategic objectives unless they face repercussions for their cyber operations,'” King said, reading Coats’ own intelligence assessment of Russian hacking. “Right now there are none! Is that not the case? There are no repercussions! We have no doctrine of deterrence.”
Coats said he agreed that Russia needed to face consequences, but disputed the characterization that the intelligence community had done nothing in response to Russia’s cyberattacks on the United States.
“Though I can’t say much in this setting, I argue that your statement — that we have done nothing — does not reflect the responses that frankly some of us at this table have engaged in and United States government engaged in before and after this, both during and before this administration,” he said.
King then pointed out that having consequences in place for actions would do no good if the Russians were not told what those consequences would be. Coats said that Russia had been informed of repercussions for continued hacks on American elections infrastructure, but he said the whole world didn’t need to know what they were.
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