Confirmed: US Cyber Attack On Russia In 2018

President Donald Trump has, for the first time, confirmed that  the US conducted a covert cyber-attack in 2018 against Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) a so called 'troll farm' blamed by the US for helping to facilitate interference both in the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterms.  

Trump gave the confirmation during an interview in the Washington Post when he was  asked he had launched a cyber-attack. Trump replied, "Correct."

US Cyber Command was elevated to the status of a unified command in 2017 and given new authorities to conduct offensive cyber operations in 2018. The cyber-attack appears to have been the first that was designed to frustrate Moscow’s attempts to interfere with a US election.

Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections was serious and pervasive and President Trump criticised former President Obama for not doing enough to address the interference ahead of the 2016 elections, saying Obama "knew before the election that Russia was playing around.... And the reason he said nothing was that he didn't want to touch it because he thought (Hillary Clinton) was winning because he read phony polls. So, he thought she was going to win. And we had the silent majority that said, 'No, we like Trump.' "

Trump claimed that unlike his predecessor, he acted on intelligence the US had about Russia's election interference by launching the cyber-attack.

However, President Obama did announce sanctions against Russia n December 2016 and expelled some Russian diplomats in retaliation for Russia's interference in the US presidential election. The operation against the Russian organisation, was carried out in order to prevent any interference in the 2018 midterm elections and according to sources, senior US officials also confirmed that the strike occurred and was effective, taking the Internet Research Agency offline.

In the interview, Trump said the cyber-attack was part of a broader policy to confront Russia. When questioned in a separate TV interview as to why he didn't confirm the attack before, Trump said "because they don't like me to talk, intelligence says, 'please don't talk intelligence,' you know sometimes intelligence is good, and sometimes you look at James Comey, and you look at John Brennan and you look at James Clapper, and I'm supposed to believe that intelligence? I never believe that intelligence."

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyber campaign in 2016 to interfere in the presidential election and it believes the IRA works at the direction of the Kremlin.

CNN  reported in October 2018 that the US military's Cyber Command had begun targeting Russian operatives believed to be attempting to influence the 2018 midterm elections, as part of a broad effort in coordination with several government agencies, an administration official has confirmed. 

CNN:      Washington Post:          New York Post:       Guardian:    

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