- Screenshot via MSNBC
President-elect Donald Trump’s soon-to-be White House chief of staff avoided naming Russia as the perpetrator of election-related cyberattacks, referring to the cyber criminals as a “foreign entities,” instead.
During the interview on Greta Van Susteren’s MSNBC program, “For the Record” on Monday night, Reince Priebus suggested the Democratic Party made itself vulnerable to the cyberattacks that targeted Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair, John Podesta.
Preibus on Sunday specifically pointed to Russia in an interview with Fox News.
On Monday, Preibus blamed Democrats again: “Yeah, this was a hack and yes it was by foreign entities, but it’s also scaled in magnitude because the DNC had absolutely no defense in place in order to prevent the hack,” Priebus said.
A joint-analysis by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI detailed how hackers could have used “spearphishing” tactics – which are designed to trick users into divulging their usernames and passwords – to install malicious software on Democratic National Committee servers, the Associated Press reported in December.
Priebus went on to claim that the situation was compounded by poor communication between Democratic Party leadership and the FBI following the cyberattacks.
“One thing you do if the FBI calls you multiple times and you’re one of the biggest political parties in the world, you ought to return the call,” Preibus said. “We might not even be having this conversation if a call from the FBI would have been returned.”
Priebus may have been referring to reports by CNN and other outlets that the FBI had trouble getting the DNC to give investigators access to its servers after the breach.
Despite US officials’ conclusions that Russia led cyberattacks against the Democratic Party, ostensibly to help Trump win the election, the Trump has remained publicly skeptical of the findings, going on an hours-long tweetstorm about it last weekend.
Following a briefing with intelligence officials last week, Trump acknowledged the possibility of Russian involvement in the cyberattack, but claimed “there was absolutely no effect” on the election.
The declassified US intelligence report, however, did not state whether Russia’s cyberattacks influenced the election.