Russia Thwarts US Cyber Attacks on Its Infrastructure

Officials decided to keep Trump in the dark about the attacks

Expanding on weekend reports that the US had been carrying out cyberattacks against Russia’s electricity grid and other infrastructure, Russian news agencies are quoting unnamed security sources who say that the US attacks were thwarted.

Kremlin officials said they consider the reports “worrying,” and that a major cyber war was possible. Security officials said that so far they remain able to neutralize all of the US attempts to infiltrate and plant malware in the systems.

President Trump reacted furiously to the New York Times reporting on the attacks, calling them “treasonous,” and going on a tirade about the newspapers being the enemy of the people. Trump’s denial of the report may not have been dishonesty on his part.

Rather, Pentagon and intelligence officials involved in the attack said there was “broad hesitation” to brief Trump in detail about specific cyber attacks. They expressed concern over his reaction, and whether he might either countermand it, or disclose it in conversations with foreign officials.

Between Congress and the administration, Cyber Command has been given broad leeway to carry out attacks without presidential approval. Though it had generally been assumed that hadn’t meant carrying out overt attacks without even telling the president, that appears as if it may not be the case, which may in the end be the most worrying part of the entire story.

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.