Before leaving office, former President Barack Obama ordered spy agencies to plan possible responses to cyber threats from Russia, but Trump’s administration has been reluctant to pursue any of those responses, The Washington Post reported.
The U.S. intelligence community assessed in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a cyber and media campaign to influence the U.S.’s presidential election and that state-affiliated media networks were included in that campaign.
According to the newspaper, Russian cyber tactics dated back at least to 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. That year, Obama aides allegedly proposed several ways to counter Kremlin propaganda efforts and one of those ways was CIA to use cyberweapons to “zap” Russian websites and servers involved with troll accounts. Yet, the Trump administration, according to Newsweek, is divided on how to move forward and has been slow to accept any of those proposals.
Trump was critical of a bill he signed in August increasing sanctions on Russia and he also said that the special counsel investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election and the alleged connection between his campaign and Russians was a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
Cyber analysts and current or former national security officials have warned that Russian efforts for disinformation will likely intensify as the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections approach.
“We know a lot more now than we did about all the different threats, whether it’s to our election systems or anything else. I would expect that we would do better, but I also expect that our adversaries don’t just coast, right? They up their game, too,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in October.