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Pentagon, U.S. Intel Avoid Briefing Trump On New US Cyber Operation Against Russia: NY Times

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Pentagon, U.S. Intel Avoid Briefing Trump On New US Cyber Operation Against Russia: NY Times




Pentagon and U.S. Intelligence officials have hesitated to give President Trump detailed briefings about a new US cyber operation against Russia out of fear that he will “countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials,” according to a bombshell report published Saturday by The New York Times.

Ryan Goodman, who served as special counsel to the general counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16), tweeted: “Blockbuster story buried in this NYT report. Pentagon, intelligence officials fear they cannot trust Trump enough to brief him fully on new US cyber operation against Russia for fear he will “countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials” as he did before with Russians.”



The Times reports:

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.

The intent of the operations was described in different ways by several current and former national security officials. Some called it “signaling” Russia, a sort of digital shot across the bow. Others said the moves were intended to position the United States to respond if Mr. Putin became more aggressive.

Goodman notes that the revelation was published in the 21st-23rd paragraphs of the Times report.





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