Washington, Jan 8: US President-elect Donald Trump believes that Russia and other countries have been hacking and attempting to attack American institutions for years, the incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said today.
"Well, I think he (Trump) believes many of the things that we all believe, which is Russia and other countries have been hacking and attempting to attack American institutions for years, that Russia's attack on American elections has been going back for over 50 years, so this is nothing new," Priebus was quoted as saying by CBS News. "The fact that this particular hack was perpetrated by Russian entities is something that no one is disputing," he said in response to a question.
"But I think one of the issues here, and one of the issues that isn't really being covered is that we have one of the two biggest political parties in the world, the DNC (Democratic National Committee), that sat there like a sitting duck, allowed these entities into their computer systems," he said. By their own admission, they said that they lacked the training, and that they didn't respond to the FBI when they called, he alleged.
"On one thing, you have the fact that Russia, China, other countries cyber-attack the US all the time. But on the other hand, you also have a President (Barack) Obama who two weeks before he leaves office, after he knew about these things had been going on since 2015, decides to then put out the biggest sanctions that we have ever put out on Russia in this regard in the history of America," he said. Noting that when the Chinese hacked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), no one heard anything that happened after that, he alleged that there is a political angle here.
"There is a political angle here, that is clearly politically motivated to discredit the victory of President- elect Trump. I think that is absolutely indisputable. The reason why the DNC piece matters is that the reason this particular hack was so large wasn't necessarily because the effort was so great by the Russians. It was that it was so easy," he said.
"I mean, John Podesta's password into his system, do you know what his password was? Password. The fact that you had Donna Brazile admitting that the DNC lacked the training which allowed all of this material to be released is incredible. It matters," he said.
Russia initially aimed its unprecedented cyber campaign at damaging a potential Clinton presidency, and then turned to supporting Trump after a victory by the real estate billionaire appeared possible, the report from the Director of National Intelligence, that was released to public on Friday, said.