Trump administration escalates cyber-attacks on Russian power grid as warning to Putin
Under the law, those actions can now be authorised by the defence secretary without special presidential approval.
“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity but declining to discuss any specific classified programmes. We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
The critical question — impossible to know without access to the classified details of the operation — is how deep into the Russian grid the United States has bored.
Only then will it be clear whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military — a question that may not be answerable until the code is activated.Both General Nakasone and Mr Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia’s grid.
Officials at the National Security Council also declined to comment but said they had no national security concerns about the details of The New York Times’ reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid, perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians.
Speaking on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, Mr Bolton said: “We thought the response in cyberspace against electoral meddling was the highest priority last year, and so that’s what we focused on. But we’re now opening the aperture, broadening the areas we’re prepared to act in.”
He added, referring to nations targeted by US digital operations: “We will impose costs on you until you get the point.”Two administration officials said they believed President Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.