Intelligence chief invokes 9/11 in warning of potentially crippling cyberattacks

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President Trump’s director of national intelligence warned Friday that foreign hackers are attempting potentially crippling cyberattacks against critical U.S. infrastructure, relating a rash of recent assaults with “alarming activities” detected by U.S. intelligence prior to terrorists striking on September 11, 2001.

“The system was blinking red. Here we are nearly two decades later and I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at an event held by the Hudson Institute think tank.

“Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” Mr. Coats continued, citing daily assaults waged by hackers from countries including predominately Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Invoking Sept. 11, Mr. Coats said that the wave of recent assaults waged against targets including government, businesses and energy sectors is reminiscent of the flurry of Al Qaeda activity witnessed by U.S. intelligence officials prior to the terrorist attacks. – READ MORE

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According to The Daily Caller, Obama administration “cybersecurity coordinator” Michael Daniel told a committee hearing that then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice had ordered him in August 2016 to “stand down” rather than respond to Russian cyber-attacks during the campaign.

The order was first reported in March in the book “Russian Roulette,” by Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for the liberal magazine Mother Jones, according to The Daily Caller.

At Wednesday’s committee hearing, which was reviewing the Obama and Trump administrations’ response to Russian cyber activity, Daniel confirmed the book’s account.

“You were told to stand down, is that correct?” asked Idaho Republican Jim Risch, The Daily Caller reported.

“Those actions were put on the back burner, yes,” Daniel said. “That was not the focus of our activity during that time period.”

The exchange during Wednesday’s committee meeting sounds awfully dry compared to how the order was presented in the Isikoff-Corn book, according to The Daily Caller.

In the book, one of Daniel’s staff members said he was “incredulous and in disbelief” when he learned about Rice’s command.

“Why the hell are we standing down?” the staffer asked, according to The Daily Caller. “Michael, can you help us understand?” – READ MORE

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