During an MSNBC "Morning Joe" panel discussion on the reported massive cybersecurity attack on the U.S. government's computer systems, two experts on national security said it was exceedingly damaging with one panelist adding that Donald Trump gave the Kremlin the "green light" by cozying up to Vladimir Putin.
According to a New York Times report, "The discovery suggests that the scope of the hacking, which appears to extend beyond nuclear laboratories and Pentagon, Treasury and Commerce Department systems, complicates the challenge for federal investigators as they try to assess the damage and understand what had been stolen."
Speaking with co-host Willie Geist, former Central Intelligence Agency chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, called the breach an "epic national security bombshell."
"Well, the Russians appear to have implanted the malicious code, malware, in a software security update that was utilized by hundreds of thousands of customers including those you listed," Bash told host Geist. "This is an epic national security bombshell in our history and the incoming Biden team is going to have a monumental task. First they'll have to do a comprehensive damage assessment. That can't be done in hours or days, that will take weeks and months to figure out exactly what the Russians now have their hands on."
He then added, "It's complicated by fact that the Russians will be watching every single move we make in our network. They'll literally be reading the emails of the IT and security professionals who are responsible for this and they have to figure out how to kick the Russians out of the network and that could take years."
Turning to GQ national security expert Julia Ioffe, she added, "Well, you know, I was just talking to a source of mine who was a former government intelligence officer and was saying, you know, this is the hack of the decade, at least."
"I think what happened is, Jeremy is right," she continued. "On one hand, Trump rewarded Putin for this and in fact he not only welcomed it. He also said in front of the whole world, he said that he believed Vladimir Putin when he said he didn't meddle in the 2016 election; that Russia wasn't involved in the hack and dump that led up to the 2016 election and I think for the Russians, I think that was a green light."