CNN)Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyberattack threats against the United States, saying the situation is at a “critical point” and coming out forcefully against Russia.
“The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point,” Coats said, addressing the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, on Friday.
“Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” he said.
Coats compared the “warning signs” to those the United States faced ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“It was in the months prior to September 2001 when, according to then-CIA Director George Tenet, the system is blinking red. And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” Coats said.
Coats said the “worst offenders” are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — with Russia the “most aggressive foreign actor, no question. And they continue their efforts to undermine our democracy.”
Every day, those countries “are penetrating our digital infrastructure and conducting a range of cyber intrusions and attacks against targets in the United States,” he said.
The president remains in total denial about Russian intentions and actions. This is unexplainable in strategic terms. Why would an American president so regularly praise and excuse a dictator dedicated to the overthrow of American influence? It is also unexplainable in political terms. Why wouldn’t a president facing an investigation of Russian influence on his campaign find opportunities to distance himself from Russian aggression? There is no rational explanation for Trump’s surrender to Russian designs. Perhaps Mueller will supply some type of unexpected, unsavory reason. But we know that Russia is Trump’s Rosetta Stone — the key that will eventually explain the refusal of an American president to defend American interests.
In the process, the Republican Party is becoming something that would have been unimaginable just five or 10 years ago. By following Trump into this strange, unhealthy Russian fetish, it is proving its loyalty while forfeiting its legitimacy. Much of the GOP is playing down Russian aggression. And it is actively undermining the investigation of that aggression. Trump’s political tools have become Putin’s useful idiots.