NSA director and US Cyber Command head Admiral Michael Rogers today testified in an open hearing of the US Senate Armed Services Committee that his agency has not been asked to do anything about Russian hackers targeting the US election system. Rogers told the committee that he doesn't "have the day-to-day authority" to authorize activity to counter the attacks, according to a Politico report.
A request for direct action would have to come from the President, through the Secretary of Defense. This is the second time in a month that the head of a US security agency has confirmed that no request to address Russian election interference has come from the White House. In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb. 13, Rogers, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, all confirmed that Russia had used "active measures" against the integrity of the 2016 US election and the upcoming 2018 elections are a significant potential target.
Rogers said Russia continues to target the US election process in part because "... they haven’t paid a price ... that is sufficient to get them to change their behavior." He also confirmed that he has shared with individuals in the Trump administration his opinion on the attacks and what might be done to stop them. But Rogers said he has neither asked for, nor volunteered, a formal plan in writing.
When asked whether it might be possible to stop the cyberattacks at their point of origin, rather than simply working on a US endpoint defense, Rogers said that he felt a plan to do so could be developed that was both legal and implementable. As to whether it would be effective, Rogers was more cautious: "It depends on the specifics," he said. "I don't want to over-promise."
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Here is a video clip from CSPAN of Rogers' testimony today:
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