There Was ‘A Conscious Effort By A Nation-State’ To Affect The Election, According To The NSA Chief

NSA director and U.S. Naval officer Adm. Michael S. Rogers took the stage for some questions at the WSJ’s CEO Council on Wednesday, focusing on the role of hacking in world affairs and dropping a few confirmations at the effect hacking had on the 2016 presidential election. The admiral made sure to let the crowd know that Wikileaks and Julian Assange did nothing but further the agenda of some nation state in an effort to obtain their desired outcome, echoing the sentiments of the intelligence community from back in October:

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s minds, this was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect,”

Rogers did not name the nation state during the conference, but the statement released jointly by the CIA and NSA seemed to definitely point at Russia as the culprit. This would support the idea that it wasn’t just some lone hacker or small group with a desire to attack the DNC or Hillary Clinton:

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said…

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” said the joint statement from agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

Rogers also hit on the ongoing strategy the NSA has against hackers and cyber attacks, pointing out that borders don’t matter when it comes to cyber warfare and one of the big factors in the way of effective defense are private companies:

“If you want me to defend something, I can’t do it from the outside,” he said. “I can’t defend something if I don’t have access to the network structure – it’s like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.”

He uses the Sony hack as an example of how cooperation between the government and a company can work together, highlighting the transparency needed from both sides in the process. If anything stands out from the Q&A, it’s that we are witnessing a newer age for foreign affairs and the government is still trying to gather themselves for what lies ahead.

(Via Wall Street Journal / Quartz)