The massive hack of the U.S. federal government’s computer networks included attacks on several agencies that deal with America’s nuclear weapons and energy. The event, which some experts have likened to a virtual declaration of war, has gone ignored by President Donald Trump.
“The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, have evidence that hackers accessed their networks as part of an extensive espionage operation that has affected at least half a dozen federal agencies, officials directly familiar with the matter said,” Politico reports.
Officials say they found “suspicious activity in networks belonging to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation and the Richland Field Office of the DOE. The hackers have been able to do more damage at FERC than the other agencies, the officials said, but did not elaborate.”
Politico congressional reporter Kyle Cheney called the news “terrifying.”
“The president, who knows this, spent yesterday attacking his recently fired cybersecurity chief for saying the 2020 election was secure,” Cheney added. “He still hasn’t addressed the breach.”
Like many federal agencies under President Trump the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) does not have a permanent head. William Bookless serves as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and Acting NNSA Administrator.
NNSA is a part of the Energy Dept.
Image: President Donald J. Trump and Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Energy. Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen. Photo via Flickr
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Does Trump Freudian Slip Show a Russian Admission?
President Donald Trump, in a tweet designed to smear Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly over his re-election bid, seemed to reveal the truth about the Russia-based influence campaign that got him into office.
Rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads for his so-called opponent on the libertarian ticket. Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2018
While it’s likely the President’s last sentence was an attempt at glibness, it nevertheless reads like an admission that accounts of Russian influence campaigns on the election do have some merit, including efforts to split the vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by pushing Bernie Saunders and Jill Stein.
It is true that ads in the Indiana race have included some backing Lucy Brenton, the Libertarian Party candidate in the race, that include the statement that they were “authorized by Donnelly for Indiana.” The ads question just how conservative the Republican candidate, Mike Braun, actually is.
“Mike Braun will say anything to get elected, but the fact is that he was an active Democrat for decades, and voted to raise your taxes 159 times,” reads one such ad. “Lucy Brenton is the true anti-tax conservative.”
Russia is accused of far more than simply influencing the election in such a manner, including the theft of materials from DNC servers.
This article has been updated to remove inaccurate descriptions of Bernie Sanders’ and Jill Stein’s parties.
Mueller Incorporates Additional Federal Resources in Expanding Trump-Russia Probe
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is utilizing additional Justice Department resources in what appears for all intents and purposes to be an extension of his Trump-Russia 2016 election probe, according to Bloomberg.
In addition to increasing his team with FBI agents, Mueller is making use of career prosecutors in addition to his 17 currently on staff. The extra resources are being funneled in from New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among other locations.
Mueller previously reassigned one major investigation to the Southern District of New York. That case was regarding Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Mueller’s workload has been top-heavy since the investigation began in 2016. Having additional support in place to hand off pieces of the larger puzzle can only aid in continuing the investigation regardless of whether or not Mueller is in the driver’s seat. Attacks from GOP representatives occur on the daily and preparing Mueller’s exit strategy is a probable scenario.
But could diversifying the team be about more than simply protecting Mueller? A timeline of the Russia probe is accessible here. You tell us.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the U.S. intelligence community has said.
Senate Intel on 2016 Election Hacking: Russia Able to ‘Alter or Delete Voter Registration Data’
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday quietly released its preliminary report on Russian hacking. The Committee, headed by Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) (photo, left), says Russian hackers “accessed voter registration databases,” and were able to “alter or delete voter registration data.”
The report does not say if any votes or registration data were changed, only that it “has not seen any evidence that vote tallies were manipulated or that voter registration information was deleted or modified.”
It adds the cautionary note that “a small number of districts in key states can have a significant impact in a national election.” Indeed, less than 80,000 votes across just three states handed the Electoral College win to Donald Trump.
The report makes clear the Senate Intelligence Committee “has limited information about whether, and to what extent, state and local officials carried out forensic or other examination of election infrastructure systems in order to confirm whether election-related systems were compromised.”
To be clear, it says: “It is possible that additional activity occurred and has not yet been uncovered.”
In other words, changes could have been made, but the Committee does not know.
How widespread were the Russian attacks on U.S. election infrastructure?
Between 18 and 21 states “had election systems targeted by Russian-affiliated cyber actors in some fashion.”
“In a small number of states, these cyber actors were in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data; however, they did not appear to be in a position to manipulate individual votes or aggregate vote totals.”
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) May 8, 2018
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