After Trump, NSA director backs away from joint US-Russian cyber unit proposal

NSA headquartersThe director of the United States National Security Agency appears to have backed away from a proposal to set up a joint American-Russian cyber security working group, with the aim of defending both countries from hackers. Earlier in July, US President Donald Trump said he was considering the establishment of what he described as “an impenetrable cyber security unit” that would be a joint project between the United States and Russia. The unit would have the task of defending both countries from cyber attacks aimed at hacking their election systems and other vital state functions. The US president said he had discussed the idea with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, during the G20 summit in German city of Hamburg. Last week, a Russian official confirmed that Moscow and Washington were considering the creation of a working group that would examine the creation of a joint cyber defense force.

The announcements, however, were strongly criticized by Democrats in Congress. They were also not welcomed by several Republican lawmakers, who argued that such a move would not be sound policy on the part of the White House, given the ongoing controversy about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Eventually, President Trump appeared to abandon the plan. He tweeted that just because he had spoken about the idea with the Russian leader did not mean that such a plan was necessarily in the works. “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t”, wrote Mr. Trump.

On Saturday, the Director of the NSA, Admiral Mike Rogers, appeared to agree with Mr. Trump’s revised view that a joint US-Russian cyber unit was not high on Washington’s priority list. After delivering a speech at the Aspen Security Forum, hosted by the Aspen Institute in Colorado, Admiral Rogers was asked by a member of the audience to address the US president’s remarks. He prefaced his response by saying that he is “not a policy guy”. But he went on to “argue [that] now is probably not the best of time to be doing this”. The head of the NSA added that a joint cyber security project between Washington and Moscow is “something that you might want to build over time, were we to see changes in [Russia’s] behavior”. He did not specify what he meant by “changes in [Russia’s] behavior”.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 24 July 2017 | Permalink

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2 Responses to After Trump, NSA director backs away from joint US-Russian cyber unit proposal

  1. nancy albert says:

    The mind just boggles!

  2. Pete says:

    Another ludicrous Trump idea that would favour Russia.

    A major risk for American cyber security officers in such a working group is that Russian “colleagues” would try and entrap them and recruit them in the service of Russia.

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