Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats gave a stern assessment of the cyber war that other countries are waging against the United States and used an analogy famously spoken before 9-11.
The “lights are blinking red.”
Speaking to the Hudson Institute on Friday, July 13, 2018, Coats had this warning to give on the eve of President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin via CBS News
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned of an impending, potentially devastating cyberattack on U.S. systems, saying the country’s digital infrastructure “is literally under attack” and warning that among state actors, Russia is the “worst offender.”
Speaking at a scheduled event at the Hudson Institute, he adopted the language of former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet who, in the months ahead of the 9/11 attacks, warned that the “system was blinking red.” Coats, citing daily attacks from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, said, “Here we are, nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again.”
He said the aggressors’ targets were diverse, and included businesses, federal, state and local governments, the U.S. military, academic and financial institutions, and critical infrastructure. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security had already detected Russian government actors exploring vulnerabilities in energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and manufacturing sectors, he warned.
This has been a constant concern for intelligence officials since Septemeber-11-2001 and there has been, it seems, a lack of clear strategy for dealing with those countries that wish to take us down via technology.
An incredibly disturbing report was done 3 years ago this month by NBC NEWS where they showed that the Chinese had attacked the United States’ businesses and government facilities over 700 times.
These attacks consist of hacking credit info, moving money, infiltrating government documents and classified information. They also include air traffic control systems and the electrical grid itself.
The issue is not if a massive attack is coming but when.
With President Trump meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland tomorrow this would be a perfect time for him to look the Russian leader in the eye and tell him to knock it off.
When Director Coats was asked what he would like the President to say to Putin at the meeting he gave this direct answer.
“My message would be, ‘We know what you’re doing,” he said. “President Putin, the decisions are up to you…we know what you do and so you make the choice. But if you want to stay in this tit-for-tat, we’re going to beat you.”
Let’s hope President Trump delivers that message in his unique style and that Putin listens.