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New York Times Claims Cyberwar Underway Between U.S., and Russia and China

March 8 , 2021 (EIRNS)—A lengthy article in the March 7 Sunday New York Times reported that the Biden Administration plans a “retaliatory,” large-scale but clandestine cyberattack on Russian computer systems within weeks, according to unnamed “officials.” In the article, “Preparing for Retaliation Against Russia, U.S. Confronts Hacking by China,” David Sanger, Julian Barnes and Nicole Perlroth, quoting National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and other White House officials by name, wrote that China’s “main security directorate” made a major attack on 30,000 government and corporate computers in the United States last week. They claimed that these attacks exploiting a Microsoft email program vulnerability are still going on and now involve other hacking groups. The NSC on Sunday issued a statement which said, “The White House is undertaking a whole of government response to assess and address the impact” of the Microsoft emails intrusion, under direction of Anne Neuberger, the “Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technologies” (a just-created position).

Regarding the planned cyberattack on Russian systems, Sullivan had said in an interview March 5, “I believe that a set of measures that are understood by the Russians, but may not be visible to the broader world, are actually likely to be the most effective measures in terms of clarifying what the United States believes are in bounds and out of bounds, and what we are prepared to do in response.” In other words, the Biden White House believes a red line was crossed and is determined to retaliate—this based solely on intelligence agency reports on attacks on “SolarWinds” software, about which those agencies never claimed “moderate to high confidence.” The Times article says Sullivan has been working on this retaliation “from the first day of the new administration.” It is headlined, “Preparing for Retaliation Against Russia, U.S. Confronts Hacking by China.”

U.S. Cyber Command already has authority, since a 2018 Trump Administration order, to conduct “short-of-war” fights in cyberspace without explicit presidential authorization, a prescription for miscalculation and potentially “pre-war” cyber fights, rather than “short-of-war” ones.

If Sullivan and the NSC have been working on retaliatory cyberattacks on the other major powers since Inauguration Day, are these attacks which, in fact, were held back and prevented by President Donald Trump?

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