Nearing Retirement, NSA Chief Sends Conflicting Messages on Russia Cyberwar

Insists White House never ordered him to disrupt Russia

With just months away from retirement, NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers gave the Senate Armed Services Committee a confusing collection of testimony on the “cyberwar” ongoing with Russia, at times emphasizing the importance of this focus, and at other times denying that any such focus even exists.

NSA chief Admiral Michael Rogers

Rogers initially presented Russia as a “threat to the foundations of democracy,” saying it was hard for the NSA to “discern Moscow’s intentions and to craft common measures for countering Russia’s aggressive actions.”

Russia, as always, was something a lot of the lawmakers wanted to focus on, and a lot of eyebrows were raised when Rogers then went on to inform the committee that he’d never gotten any specific orders from the White House to try to disrupt Russian cyberattacks at all, saying he believes it is up to President Trump to make a policy decision to that end.

In spite of this, Rogers answered other questions by suggesting that there are “ongoing efforts” to deal with Russia, but that the US needed to accept that they have “underestimated the adversary” in cyberwar.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.