Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blamed Russia for the monthslong cyber hack of agencies across the U.S. government.
“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Pompeo told radio host Mark Levin in an interview released Friday.
“I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified. But suffice it to say there was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. Government systems and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well,” Pompeo added.
The massive and sophisticated cyber operation infiltrated the departments of Treasury, Homeland Security, State and Agriculture; the National Institutes of Health, and the Commerce Department’s telecommunications policy agency.
The Department of Energy has found evidence that hackers breached networks at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, two national laboratories, a DOE field office and a division of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
U.S. officials believe hackers linked to a Russian intelligence agency infected software updates for an IT monitoring program made by a company called SolarWinds.
Pompeo defended President Donald Trump for not publicly calling out Russia for the attack.
“I saw this in my time running the world’s premier espionage service at the CIA. There are many things that you’d very much love to say, “Boy, I’m going to call that out,” but a wiser course of action to protect the American people is to calmly go about your business and defend freedom.”
Lawmakers have stepped up their demands for answers and President-elect Joe Biden has used the crisis to draw a contrast between himself and Trump.
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