No Response To Russian Meddling
Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a direct cyberattack on American democracy, but President Donald Trump’s response has been limited to insisting that there was no direct collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of the U.S. Cybercommand, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that it should expect the meddling, directed by the Russian government, to continue in the upcoming midterm elections. “I believe that President (Vladimir) Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore, ‘I can continue this activity.”’ Rogers testified. “Clearly what we have done hasn’t been enough.” Pressed by Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Rogers said he has responded to the Russian interference to the extent of his power, but that the authority for a massive response lies with Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis. “I’ve never been given any specific direction to take additional steps outside my authority. I have taken the steps within my authority, you know, trying to be a good, pro-active commander,” Rogers said. “I have not been granted any additional authorities.” Russian meddling no longer is speculative. All of U.S. intelligence agrees that it has and still is taking place, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller recently obtained a highly detailed grand jury indictment charging 13 Russians and three Russian organizations with carrying out the enterprise. Regardless of the collusion issue, the administration should authorize an aggressive response to the Russian interference.