Putin publicly praises Russian intelligence agency implicated in massive U.S. government hack
Russia officially denies responsibility for the massive, ongoing cyber hack by the US government and corporate networks, despite mounting evidence that its SVR foreign intelligence agency committed the subtle breach. On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin left his COVID-19 bubble to address the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the SVR, and among his general praise for the Russian security services and especially for the SVR, slipped into some laudatory words for counter-espionage operations Translation shared by the Kremlin.
"I know what I'm talking about," said Putin, a former agent of the KGB, the predecessor of the SVR. "And I really appreciate the difficult professional surgeries that were performed."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Russia was "fairly clearly" responsible for the "very significant" cyber breach, and "White House officials drafted a statement to be released Friday accusing Moscow of cyber - Intrusions carried out in a month - long campaign but stopped, "reports the Washington Post, citing a senior government official. President Trump tweeted his first comments on Saturday's cyber attack, bizarrely suggesting that China may be to blame.
"Trump's reluctance to call on the Kremlin for its malicious activities in cyberspace and his respect for Russian President Vladimir Putin have become a hallmark of his presidency," the Post noted.
Trump "is acting so much like a paid Russian agent," said Gregory Treverton, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council. "When you look at the series of his actions and utterances," he added, "the only consistent interpretation you can logically draw is that he is under its spell." Andrew Weiss, a Russia expert from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, agreed. "From Trump's first meeting with Putin to today's tweets, we've seen an almost unbreakable pattern of denying the obvious about Russia's wrongdoings while hauling water for the Kremlin," he told the Post.
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