President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that if the United States got into a “real gun war” with a “great power,” it could be the result of a significant cyberattack on the country, highlighting what Washington sees as growing threats from Russia. and China.
Cybersecurity is at the top of the Biden administration’s agenda after a series of high-profile attacks on entities such as network management company SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline company, meat-packing company JBS and software company Kaseya inflicted much more damage on the US than just hacked the companies. Some of the attacks affected fuel and food supplies in parts of the United States.
“I think it’s more than likely that we’re going to end up, if we get into a war — a real gun war with a lot of power — it’s going to be the result of a cyber-breach with a big impact and it’s increasing the capabilities exponentially,” he said. Biden during a half-hour speech during a visit to the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
At a June 16 summit in Geneva between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden shared a list of critical infrastructure that the US considers off-limits to nation-state actors.
Since then, senior members of the Biden administration’s national security team have been in constant contact with senior Kremlin members about cyber attacks on the United States, the White House said.
Biden also highlighted the threats posed by China, referring to President Xi Jinping as “deadly serious to become the most powerful military power in the world, as well as the largest and most prominent economy in the world by the mid-1940s, the 2040s.”
Speaking to about 120 ODNI employees and senior officials, Biden also thanked members of US intelligence, emphasized his confidence in the work they do and said he will not put political pressure on them. The ODNI oversees 17 US intelligence agencies.
“I will never politicize the work you do. You have my word on that,” he said. “It’s too important for our country,” he said.
Biden’s comments marked a departure from the comments of his predecessor Donald Trump, who had a contentious relationship with intelligence agencies on issues such as his assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win the 2016 election and his role in revealing that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden.
Trump went through four permanent or acting directors of national intelligence during his four years in office
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