Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Biden: Trump 'Failed' to Shore Up Nation's Cybersecurity
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
December 22, 2020

Share

WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday assailed the Trump administration for failing to fortify the nation’s cyber defenses, and called on President Donald Trump to publicly identify the perpetrator of a massive breach of U.S. government agencies — a hack some of Trump’s top allies have blamed on Russia.

Biden, who is being briefed on high-level intelligence in preparation for taking office next month, said planning for the hack began as early as 2019. Several federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, have said they were targeted.

“There’s still so much we don’t know,” Biden said during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware. “But we know this much: This attack constitutes a grave risk to our national security. It was carefully planned and carefully orchestrated.”

The U.S. government has not made a formal assessment of who was behind the attack, but both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have said all signs point to Russia. But Trump, who has long sidestepped blaming Moscow for its provocations, has not followed suit and has instead suggested — without evidence — that China may have carried out the hack.

The breach of the Treasury Department began in July, but experts believe the overall hacking operation began months earlier when malicious code was slipped into updates to popular software that monitors computer networks of businesses and governments.

“The truth is, the Trump administration failed to prioritize cybersecurity,” Biden said. “This assault happened on Donald Trump’s watch, while he wasn’t watching.”

Biden Spoke a Day After Congress Passed a $900 Billion Coronavirus Aid Bill

Given Trump’s reluctance to publicly blame Russia, it appears likely that any formal U.S. retaliation for the hacking will fall to Biden. The president-elect said he would work with allies to set up international rules to hold nation states accountable for cyberattacks and vowed that his administration would make cybersecurity a top priority.

Biden spoke a day after Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus aid bill that includes direct payments to many Americans and aid for struggling small businesses. He called the bill a “down payment” on a broader relief bill he plans to introduce when he takes office in January.

“Like all compromises, this is far from perfect,” Biden said. “Congress did their job this week, and I can and I must ask them to do it again next year.”

The president-elect also expressed empathy for families who have struggled this year through the pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty. He singled out in particular frontline workers, scientists, researchers, clinical trial participants and those with deployed family members during the holiday season.

“Our hearts are always with you — keep the faith,” said Biden, even as he warned that the nation faces a “dark winter” as COVID-19 cases rise across the country. More than 320,000 people have died from the virus in the United States.

He urged Americans to continue to take precautions, particularly during the holidays when many typically come together with family and friends. Noting the ways that the pandemic has altered his own holiday celebrations, which typically include up to two dozen relatives, Biden said “not this year.”

On Monday, Biden was vaccinated on live television as part of an effort to reassure people that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

“I look forward to the second shot, and I have absolute confidence in the vaccine,” Biden said. “But we’re in short supply.”

Biden’s Transition Team on Tuesday Also Announced a New Round of White House Staff Appointments

With about a month to go until his inauguration, Biden is working through the holiday to build out his Cabinet and White House team. He’s expected to nominate Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s education chief, to serve as education secretary, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden’s transition team on Tuesday also announced a new round of White House staff appointments, led by longtime aide Bruce Reed as deputy chief of staff. Reed served as Biden’s chief of staff during his first term as vice president and has long been a close member of Biden’s inner circle of advisers.

But throughout the weeks of speculation over Biden’s Cabinet selections, progressives have expressed concerns about what they see as Reed’s moderate political views and fiscal conservatism.

Progressives notched a win in the latest round of staff announcements, however, with the appointment of Gautam Raghavan as deputy director of the office of presidential personnel. Raghavan served as chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and in his new position he’ll help evaluate applicants for thousands of federal jobs and appointments throughout the administration.

Biden has also appointed Anne Filipic as director of management and administration, Ryan Montoya as director of scheduling and advance, Vinay Reddy as director of speechwriting and Elizabeth Wilkins as a senior adviser to the chief of staff. All are alumni of the Obama-Biden administration, and Montoya and Reddy worked on Biden’s campaign as well.

DON'T MISS

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

DON'T MISS

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

DON'T MISS

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

DON'T MISS

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

DON'T MISS

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

DON'T MISS

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

DON'T MISS

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

DON'T MISS

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

DON'T MISS

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

UP NEXT

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

UP NEXT

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

UP NEXT

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

UP NEXT

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

UP NEXT

Portland Nurse Returns Home After Treating Gaza Burn Victims

UP NEXT

RNC HQ Evacuated: Blood Vials Addressed to Trump Prompt Security Alert

UP NEXT

Ex-Employee Kills 2, Injures 3 in Suburban Philadelphia Linen Company Shooting

UP NEXT

Search and Rescue Ongoing After Iowa Tornado; 1 Dead

UP NEXT

How the Beatles Empowered a Research Genius to Save Millions of Lives

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

1 day ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

2 days ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

2 days ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

2 days ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

2 days ago

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

2 days ago

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

2 days ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

What’s the cost of democracy in California? Sameea Kamal CalMatters If we calculate that based just on the pages informing the state’s 22...

6 hours ago

6 hours ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

6 hours ago

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

6 hours ago

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

1 day ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend