Trump: New York Times Performed ‘Virtual Act of Treason’ on Russia Cyber Report

President Donald Trump has accused The New York Times of performing an “act of treason” over its recent report alleging that the United States is “stepping up digital incursions” on Russia’s electric power grid.

The June 15 report, citing anonymous current and former government officials, described how the United States was more aggressively increasing their cyber attack efforts as a warning to Russian authorities. The article said it was a “demonstration” of the Trump administration’s use of their new authorities.

The president, on June 15, disputed the claims laid out by The New York Times and accused them of being “desperate.”

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”

In a separate post, Trump explicitly said the newspaper’s report was “ALSO, NOT TRUE,” and broadened his criticisms to the current media landscape.

“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,” he wrote. “They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The new authorities were granted last year by the White House and Congress to the to United States Cyber Command, one of the arms of the United States’ Department of Defense.

The Cyber Command’s mission is to “direct, synchronize, and coordinate cyberspace planning and operations to defend and advance national interests,” according to their official website. The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times report alleged how Pentagon and other intelligence officials were hesitant to tell the president details about operations against Russia for concern of his reaction and that he might undo their plans. It also mentioned that according to current law, it appears the officials don’t have to brief the sitting president at all.

“Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary,” officials reportedly told The New York Times.

Two admin officials claimed Trump had not been briefed “in any detail” about the alleged efforts to place “implants” a kind of software code, inside the Russian grid. The codes, the newspaper said, can be utilized for surveillance or an attack.

Trump, on June 16 continued his criticisms of the New York Times, this time including the Washington Post.

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse?” he wrote.

The president added that when he leaves the office, “both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

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Author: Bowen Xiao

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