Mitt Romney Warns Russia Hack Could Potentially 'Cripple' U.S. Electricity, Water
Senator Mitt Romney, Utah, warned on Sunday that the recent Russian cyberattack on US agencies and businesses could potentially “cripple” the country's electricity and water systems. He also criticized President Donald Trump for failing to condemn Russia for the unprecedented hack.
"It is an extraordinary invasion of our cyberspace," Romney told NBC's "Meet the Press" of the attack, which affected the US Treasury Department, the Department of Commerce and the State Department, among others.
"You basically have the ability to know what we're doing," Romney continued. "They even reached out to the agency responsible for our nuclear capabilities, for our research into nuclear weapons. This is an extraordinarily harmful invasion. And it went on for a long, long time."
He added that the hack had "huge national security implications," citing Russia's ability to potentially "cripple" the US economically and "on water and electricity and so on."
Although US intelligence agencies determined that Russia was behind the massive hack, Trump has largely remained silent on the matter.
Romney tweeted the White House on Thursday for its "inexcusable silence and inaction" about the cyber espionage operation.
"In this environment, it is really extraordinary that the White House does not speak aggressively, protest and take punitive action," he said that day in an interview with Olivier Knox of Sirius XM.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted that Russia was "quite clearly" the perpetrator of the hack.
But Trump on Saturday, in his first public comments on the attack with no evidence in a tweet, suggested that China - not Russia - may be behind this, which his own top officials contradicted.
Romney said Sunday he was "disappointed" with Trump's false claim about China.
"I think we realized that the president has a blind spot on Russia," Romney told NBC. “And the reality here is that the experts, the people who really understand how our systems work, and how computers and software work, thousands upon thousands of the CIA, NSA and the Department of Defense have established that this is Russia. "
When asked whether Trump's decision to downplay Russia's hostility towards the US was more than a "blind spot", Romney said he would not "psychoanalytically analyze" the president.
Trump "does not want to recognize Russia for the problem they are and the extraordinarily bad actor they have on the world stage because it reflects him badly," said Romney, adding that Russia "is really a geopolitical opponent" .
"They go against us on every front," he continued. “You have now re-entered our cyberspace. They kill people in their own country, whether they are politicians or media people. "
President-elect Joe Biden's team is reportedly looking into ways to punish Russia for the attack once he takes office next month. Some possible reactions are financial sanctions and cyberattacks against Russia, Reuters reported on Sunday.
Mitt Romney: It's an extraordinary Trump who didn't mention the suspicion of a cyber attack on Russia
Mike Pompeo: "Pretty much" Russians behind mass cyberattack
Trump shrugs his shoulders at massive Kremlin cyberattacks as No Biggie and unfoundedly points to China
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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