Asked by Democratic Sen. Jack Reed if he has been directed by the President, through the defense secretary, to confront Russian cyber operators at the source, Rogers said “no I have not”.
Rogers stated that it is fair to say that with regards to Russia “we have not opted to engage in some of the same behaviors we are seeing”. “It has not changed the calculus or the behavior on behalf of the Russians,” Rogers said about the US response to Russia’s cyber threat to date. “They have not paid a price that is sufficient to change their behavior,” he added.
Reed also asked FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this month whether the efforts to counter Russia’s election activities in 2018 had been directed by Trump. “Not as specifically directed by the President,” Wray responded during a hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee.
On Tuesday, Rogers reiterated that he still views Moscow as a threat to the 2018 elections, a stance that is consistent with what he and other top national security officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month. “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence, to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats previously testified. “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” he said.
But that conclusion appears at odds with Trump’s repeated dismissals of Russian election meddling. Trump declared last week that “the facts” prove he’s been tougher on Russia than his predecessor President Obama. However, that doesn’t seem to be true, especially when it comes to punishing Russia for interfering in US elections.