It "could've been China," US President Trump told an interviewer who asked about the hack into the 2016 presidential election.
In an interview that aired on Sunday with John Dickerson, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News and host of Face the Nation, Trump said it was "very hard" to ascribe blame into the incursions into the American campaigns without catching the hacker "in the act."
When pressed by Dickerson whether the Russians tried to meddle in the election, the president answered he was uncertain. Rather, he pointed to Russian deals by former president Bill Clinton, as well as business dealings with Russia by his opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, and John Podesta, former chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
"With that being said, I'll go along with Russia," Trump said. "Could've been China, could've been a lot of different groups."
While admitting that he was not certain who was behind the attacks, the president said he was intent on finding out.
However, in an interview with Dickerson that aired on Monday morning, Trump abruptly ended the Oval Office discussion when Dickerson asked him about his early March tweets that asserted his predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped his presidential bid.
“You don't have to ask me,” Trump responded, interrupting Dickerson as the reporter posed his question.
“Why not?” the CBS reporter queried.
“Because I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions,” Trump responded.
In related cyber-security matters, in assessing the Trump administration's moves on cyber-security as it passes 100 days in office, many in cyber-security are questioning whether any movement in this area has been made. According to data from BitSight, a security ratings company that focuses on measuring risk, there has been a drop in FISMA security performance.
“FISMA agencies continue to struggle with cyber-security," Jacob Olcott, former legal adviser to the Senate Commerce Committee, counsel to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and current VP at security ratings company BitSight, told SC Media on Monday, "We've observed a significant drop-off in cyber-security performance among federal departments and agencies since January due to new, prolonged malware infections and failure to remediate vulnerabilities in a timely fashion.
Olcott is hopeful that the picture will improve under the current administration. President Trump's pending Executive Order on cyber-security -- with provisions on senior level leadership and accountability, as well as systemic upgrades -- could provide a catalyst for improvement, Olcott told SC.