President Donald Trump lashed out at The New York Times on Saturday for a report that the United States has been increasing its cyber intrusions into Russia, escalating tensions between the two countries.
The Times reported that the United States has increased measures to penetrate Russia’s power grid as a message to Moscow to stay out of American cyber infrastructure. The efforts lay an aggressive groundwork for an attack on the Russian grid on an unprecedented scale if the two countries were to enter into conflict, the Times reported.
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The escalation has prompted fears of overheating tensions with Russia, the Times reported. Exactly how deeply the U.S. has penetrated Russian systems remains classified.
Citing administration officials, the Times also reported Trump was not briefed in detail on the program out of fear that he would spill secrets to Russians as he did with classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister during an Oval Office meeting in 2017. That incident, first uncovered by The Washington Post, reportedly put a vital source on ISIS at risk.
Trump flatly rejected the Times’ Saturday story, calling it “a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”
“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” Trump tweeted.
The Times story follows U.S. intelligence reports of Russian penetration into American cyber infrastructure including of nuclear power plants. Already, the United States has imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections through a number of cyber attacks, from misinformation campaigns to hacking the Democratic National Committee’s network.