Pompeo: Russia ‘pretty clearly’ behind cyberattack on U.S.; Trump downplays issue

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said Russia was behind a devastating cyberattack on several U.S. government agencies, including cybersecurity company FireEye.

“There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of US government systems,” Pompeo told The Mark Levin Show.

“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,” Pompeo said. “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.”

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FireEye, a major U.S. cybersecurity firm with wide government contracts, disclosed the cyberattack early in December.

In a company post, CEO Kevin Mandia branded it as “an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.” He then said the hackers’ goal seemed to be stealing data from the company’s government clients.

As of this posting, President Donald Trump already responded to the cyberattack issue.

On Twitter, President Trump on Saturday claimed that the “Fake News Media” is exaggerating the extent of the hack.

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!),” Trump tweeted.

He added, “There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”

Trump has defended Russia against multiple claims, including issues that the country interfered in the United States’ 2016 election.

The cyberattack started in March but was only discovered this month.

Many of the targets included federal agencies, companies that contract with governments or think tanks.

Microsoft said information and technology companies were also hit.

The Homeland Security and Oversight Committee on Friday said their officers have already been briefed on the issue but were left with “more questions than answers.”

“After receiving a classified member briefing from the Trump Administration today on the major hack to government systems, we are left with more questions than answers,” committee leaders said in a statement.