The Trump administration is doing worse than nothing to respond to the Russian cyberattacks which Rep. Jason Crow called “our modern-day Pearl Harbor.”
December 19, 2020

Crow painted a terrifying picture of what the Russians got away with and how Trump is making things worse. Crow didn’t have to say the word “collusion” or “treason” but even if it’s “only” shocking negligence and missteps, there isn’t much difference in the result.

CROW: I don't think we can overstate how dangerous this is for our country right now. “Breathtaking” is a word that certainly comes to mind for me. And that's why I referred to this earlier today as our modern-day Pearl Harbor. Both the depth and breadth of the potential breach is incredible.

We're still getting our arms around it but it seems to have been going on for much of this year, undetected. And in fact, we probably would not have even detected it had not a private cybersecurity company almost stumbled upon the breach and was able to unravel what was happening. But it looks like our own agencies probably wouldn't have been able to detect what was happening. So we have a major problem on our hands and the administration is not doing right now what needs to be done to lead us through this crisis.

Breathtaking is right. The breach is both wide and deep.

CROW: There are 17 different critical infrastructure sectors within the United States. Just one of those critical infrastructure sectors is the financial industry. The financial industry has over 800,000 financial institutions. We do believe that the financial industry was one of the impacted industries.

So what we believe the adversary did here was they created a back door in a widely-used software system that was used to manage IT systems. And we think that almost 20,000 different entities, both private companies and government agencies, downloaded and used that software and might have back doors into their system. And that back door would allow the adversary here to have complete, unfettered access to everything within their IT network. It's extremely dangerous and it's going to be very difficult to even stop it. We think that it's probably still ongoing as we sit here, have this discussion, which could be very dangerous not just for our national security and our troops deployed downrange, but for our intelligence community and, of course, our critical, private infrastructure as well.

Trump is doing nothing to interfere with his buddy Putin.

CROW: Instead of leading on this, communicating with the American people, directing resources, what instead is he doing? Let's take stock of that. Number one, he has fired and gutted most of the senior leadership in the Pentagon. Number two, our senior cybersecurity official was fired a couple of weeks of ago for political reasons, because the president didn't like what he had to say during interviews, and number three, he's threatening to actually veto and he probably will veto the defense bill, which actually has money and resources and authorities to address this very issue. So the president is not just not leading on this, but he's actually creating barriers and standing in the way of dealing with this in a way that a commander in chief should.

Trump is also creating roadblocks for Joe Biden to step in and take over. CNN anchor Brianna Keilar said the Pentagon has canceled all transition meetings for the second day in a row. The defense secretary claims there was a mutual agreement to reschedule them, she said, but the Biden team says that’s not true.

CROW: Yeah, I'm very concerned about that. I mean, listen, transitions are vulnerable in the best of times, when you're moving senior folks out of the positions, putting new people in. Any transition, even when it's done well, is a time of great vulnerability for our country. But you insert a situation like we have right now, where the president is not cooperating, his teams are not cooperating. That transition was actually delayed by close to a month. And they've cut off briefings for the folks that in just a couple weeks are gonna be in the driver's seat of dealing with this crisis and it's a major problem.

I'm very concerned about the incoming administration's lack of access to information and how this is going to inhibit their ability to hit the ground running on Day One. It needs to stop. The president needs to lead. Donald Trump needs to step up and do the responsible thing for our national security and start doing these briefings so we can have a safe transition.

Well, good luck with that. Trump seems more interested in fighting Democrats and state electors than anything involving Putin.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Trumpers like Michael Flynn talking up a declaration of martial law in order to “re-run” the election.

Crow had thoughts on that, too.

CROW: Let's just be real about this. Michael Flynn is a disgraced felon, regardless of the president's abuse of power by pardoning him. He was convicted or pled to lying to the FBI. So he has no credibility in this debate.

And I think the other thing, if we're talking about real talk right here, is I think we just have to admit the fact that the president has senior folks around him that do not believe in democracy. They do not believe in enfranchising people and allowing them to vote, and exercising their fundamental democratic rights and Michael Flynn is one of those people. So I don't put any stock in what Michael Flynn is saying. And I do think it's good that our military leaders, those who actually believe in our system and are upholding their oaths to defend democracy are correcting the record.

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