Biden hammers Trump for refusing to take action on Russia-linked cyber attacks

President-elect says massive hack happened when Mr Trump ‘was not watching’

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 22 December 2020 21:50 GMT
Joe Biden hammers Trump for refusing to take action on Russia-linked cyber attacks
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Joe Biden has hammered Donald Trump for refusing to take action on Russia-linked cyber attacks.

The outgoing president has cast doubt on Russia’s role in the massive and ongoing hack of US government agencies and private companies and instead hinted that China was behind it, despite chairs of the Senate and House intelligence committees pointing to Russian involvement.

Mr Biden took aim at Mr Trump for his lack of action on the hack and for his denial of the Kremlin’s involvement.

“The truth is this: the Trump administration failed to prioritise cybersecurity,” said Mr Biden during a speech in Delaware.

The president elect attacked Mr Trump for his “irrational downplaying of the seriousness of this attack”.

“Enough is enough. In an age when so much of our lives are conducted online cyber attacks must be treated as a serious threat by our leadership at the highest levels, we cannot let this go unanswered," Mr Biden said.

“That means making clearly and publicly who is responsible for the attack and taking meaningful steps to hold them to account.”

Mr Biden said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr had already held Russia responsible.

“The Trump administration needs to make an official attribution. This assault happened on Donald Trump’s watch, when he wasn’t watching," he added.

“It is still his responsibility as president to defend American interests for the next four weeks but rest assured even if he does not take it seriously, I will.”

The US treasury and departments of homeland security, state and defence were all targeted in the attack.

White House officials had reportedly drafted a statement blaming Russia before being told to pull it back by the administration.

Mr Biden then added that the risk to the US from the hack was still ongoing.

“I see no evidence that it is under control. The Defense Department won't even brief us on many things ... this president hasn't even identified who is responsible yet,” added Mr Biden.

The Russian embassy in Washington DC has denied any involvement in the hack.

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