Echoing a familiar refrain when members of the US intelligence community recently testified before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, who is also the US Cyber Command commander, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that President Trump hasn't directed him to combat Russian cyber-attacks.
“I haven't been granted any additional authorities,” Rogers testified, explaining that the president would need to make a specific policy decision “in accordance with a recommendation from the secretary of Defence.”
Rogers told lawmakers that Russia has not been deterred from interfering in part because they haven't felt the consequences of their past actions. “They haven't paid a price, at least, that has significantly changed their behaviour,” he said.
At a Tuesday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back on the notion that the White House has let the issue of Russian intrusion languish, noting that the administration is “taking a number of steps to prevent this.”
But Democrat lawmakers expressed frustration at the lack of action by the administration, which Rep. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said is “essentially sitting back and waiting.
“Essentially, we have not taken on the Russians yet,” Reed said.
Rogers, however, said that while he currently didn't have the cyber-capabilities “that would be the optimal or only response” to Russian hacking, he has ordered Cynet Command to "begin some specific work" in response.