Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Friday that the U.S. could “disrupt the Russians” with cyberattacks to warn them against interfering in upcoming elections, but spy agencies need President Donald Trump’s approval for such an offensive.
“It can’t be just ‘We’re going to embarrass you a little bit,'” Rogers, the former Michigan Republican congressman, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “This has to be disruption.
“We have the capability — the U.S. government, the National Security Agency — to disrupt certain cyber activities. “It’s hard. You have to be accurate.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Rogers said. “But we can do it. That’s the part that the president has to sign off on.”
The nation’s intelligence chiefs said Thursday that Russia was spearheading a “pervasive messaging campaign” disrupt the November congressional elections and the 2020 presidential contest.
“We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” DNI Chief Dan Coats told reporters at the White House briefing.
“We will continue to monitor and warn of any such efforts,” he said.
Rogers praised the “pretty powerful display from the intelligence community” at the briefing but told Blitzer that Trump’s presence would have been even more effective.
“It’s one thing for the Russians and Putin to hear them, but it’s another thing for them to hear from the president of the United States,” he said.
The intelligence officials also need President Trump’s authority to hack Russia or any other nation.
“If you’re going to another country to disrupt some activity like that … you need lots of authorizations,” Rogers said.
“The president normally is in that chain,” he explained. “He could delegate, but we don’t know that piece. If you want to disrupt the Russians, you absolutely have to have some offensive capability.”
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