National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has called off the rest of his trip to Europe and the Middle East, returning to Washington, DC for meetings over the SolarWinds hack that affected systems of US government agencies.
“Ambassador O’Brien is returning to address the hacking incident,” National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. “He is holding NSC meetings tonight and tomorrow morning and will convene a high level interagency meeting this week.”
National Security Adviser @robertcobrien canceled stops in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, UK to return to deal with hack of US govt agencies.@axios reported Sunday his wife had accompanied him on this trip to “romantic Mediterranean and European capitals.”https://t.co/B0vbO5wu50
O’Brien was scheduled to return from the week-long trip on Saturday, but had managed to visit only Israel and France before it was announced he would take a flight back to the US. The trip was reportedly supposed to also include Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.
The meetings are reportedly intended to address the alleged hack of SolarWinds Orion platform, a network monitoring tool used by many major corporations in the US, but also government agencies such as Treasury, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, NASA, the Pentagon, the Executive Office of the President and even the spies at the NSA.
Another report claimed that hackers had gained access to internal emails of State, Commerce, Treasury and DHS using Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based service. According to cybersecurity experts who reported the breach, it supposedly happened between March and June.
While neither the US government nor FireEye, the company that reported the hack – and revealed last week it had been hacked itself – attributed the alleged breach to anyone, they described it as “consistent” with what they think a “nation state” actor would do.
Meanwhile, US mainstream media hastened to accuse Russia of the attack, citing anonymous sources. “Russian government hackers breached the Treasury and Commerce departments, along with other US government agencies,” the Washington Post asserted on Monday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
Other outlets quickly followed. “Federal government breached by Russian hackers who targeted FireEye,”NBC stated, as if a fact. “Scope of Russian Hack Becomes Clear: Multiple US Agencies Were Hit,” the New York Times declared. “What We Know About Russia’s Latest Alleged Hack Of The US Government,” blared a NPR headline.
The same outlets have also treated as proven fact the assertions that Russia ‘hacked’ the DNC and “interfered” in the 2016 US presidential election, for which no evidence has ever been provided.
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