White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was grilled on Tuesday about why President Donald Trump has not authorized the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command to stop Russian attempts to hack the 2018 elections.
During Tuesday White House briefing, ABC’s Jonathan Karl noted that Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, had told Senators that he had not received authorizations from the White House to combat Russian attacks at the source.
“We are looking at a variety of different ways,” Sanders insisted.
“But Admiral Rogers is the one that would have the agency that could actually go and confront the Russian intrusion at the source,” Karl insisted. “And he hasn’t been given the authority. In fact, he says the Russians haven’t paid a sufficient price to make them change their behavior.”
“All he needs is a presidential directive, the authority,” the ABC correspondent added before being interrupted by Sanders.
“I disagree with the premise of the question,” she argued. “It’s not just one individual.”
“He’s in charge of Cyber Command!” Karl exclaimed. “Why not give him the authority?”
“Nobody is denying him the authority!” Sanders shot back. “We’re looking at a number of different ways that we can put pressure [on the Russians]. This president… has been much tougher on Russia than his predecessor. Let’s not forget that this happened under Obama. This didn’t happen under President Trump. If you want to blame somebody on past problems then you need to look at the Obama administration.”
“This is not about the past!” Karl pointed out. “This is about preventing intrusion in the next election. He says he needs the authority and hasn’t been given it.”
“I can’t speak to that,” Sanders replied.
Watch the video below from CNN.