Cyberwarfare and Defense

Trump, Dismissive of Hacking, Says Americans Should ‘Get on With Our Lives’



Trump on Hacking: Americans Should ‘Get on With Our Lives’

President-elect Donald J. Trump, asked about Russian hacking of Democratic Party computers, said Wednesday that “the whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” but he conceded that there might be a need for more cybersecurity.

By REUTERS on Publish Date December 29, 2016.

Photo by Kevin Hagen for The New York Times.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President-elect Donald J. Trump said Americans should “get on with our lives” in comments to reporters before Thursday’s expected White House announcement that the United States will retaliate against Russia for its election-year hacking of Democratic Party computers.

Obama administration officials plan to announce a series of measures in response to the Russian meddling in the election, which could include publicly announced economic sanctions and secret countermeasures in cyberspace.

Asked late Wednesday night at his Mar-a-Lago estate about President Obama’s plans to take action against Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, Mr. Trump was dismissive. He appeared to concede the need to make computers more secure, but was vague about how that related to a possible response to Russia.

“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he said. “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind, the security we need.”

Mr. Trump took questions from a handful of reporters as Don King, the sports promoter and a longtime friend, stood next to him. The president-elect has not held a formal news conference since July, though he promised on Wednesday to hold one in early January.

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Mr. Obama vowed this month to respond to the hacking of the Democratic Party and other institutions, which intelligence agencies have concluded was perpetrated by Russia. In an interview with NPR, Mr. Obama said he would act after he received a final review of the cyberattacks from those agencies.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action,” Mr. Obama told NPR. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism that Russia was behind the hacking during the election. In early December, the president-elect and his advisers mocked intelligence agencies for their conclusion that Russia was responsible.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” several weeks ago. “I don’t believe it.”

On Twitter, Mr. Trump repeatedly raised doubts about Russia’s involvement in the hacking. He asked:

In the posts, Mr. Trump wrongly asserted that the United States government had waited until after the election to accuse Russia, after his victory over Hillary Clinton. In fact, the administration had announced in October that it believed Russia was involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the leaking of the organization’s emails.

Mr. Trump was asked on Wednesday about statements by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, that Mr. Putin should be personally sanctioned for the hacking. The president-elect said he was unaware of the comments by Mr. Graham, who was a Republican candidate for president before dropping out in December 2015.

“I don’t know what he’s doing,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “As you know, he ran against me.”


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