Mitt Romney: President Trump's silence on Russian cyberattacks 'inexcusable'

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks to the press staked
outside his new office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.

(Cheryl Diaz Meyer, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican, called President Donald Trump's silence on cyber hacks believed to have come from Russia "inexcusable."

"They had the capacity to show that our defense is extraordinary inadequate, that our cyber warfare readiness is extraordinarily weak, that they think so little of our ability to fight back from a cyber standpoint that they do this with impunity," Romney said on SiriusXM radio on Thursday, according to the Today Show.

"So our national security is extraordinarily vulnerable. And in this setting, not to have the White House aggressively speaking out and protesting, and taking punitive action, is really quite extraordinary," Romney said.

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, said the computer hacking discovered last weekend poses "a grave risk" to networks maintained by governments, utilities and the private sector. The breach that began in March could also prove difficult to purge, officials said.

The growing list of agency networks accessed by the hack includes the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health. Russia was behind the attack, according to federal law enforcement officials who are still assessing how much information was stolen.

Russia's U.S. Embassy has denied responsibility for the attack. U.S. cybersecurity officials have not officially blamed the Kremlin.

"The cyber hack is like Russian bombers have been repeatedly flying undetected over our entire country," Romney said in a tweet on Thursday.

He said the hack demonstrated "alarming U.S. vulnerability, apparent cyber warfare weakness, glaringly inadequate cyber defenses" as well as "inexcusable silence and inaction from the White House."

"Past time for a national security reset that prioritizes cybersecurity capabilities and defenses," Romney tweeted.

Officials say the foreign hackers gained initial access through a compromise in a piece of software made by cybersecurity firm SolarWinds when customers unknowingly downloaded a malicious code while installing updates, granting hackers access. Federal law enforcement officials say hackers likely found additional access points.

Contributing: Los Angeles Times

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Ashley Imlay


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