US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Friday night interview that he believes Russia is behind a hack that has been hacked Dozens of federal agencies and companies, Including cybersecurity company FireEye.
Speaking on the “Mark Levin Show,” Pompeo said the effort was “clearly” linked to Russia.
“I can’t say much more than that because we’re still deciphering what exactly it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain secret,” Pompeo said. “This was a very important effort, and I think we can now clearly say that it was the Russians who participated in this activity.”
When asked whether President Donald Trump will speak out during the investigation, Pompeo said at times, “The wisest course of protecting the American people is to do your job quietly and stand up for freedom.”
FireEye, a major American cybersecurity company with extensive government contracts, first The breach was revealed earlier this month. In Company Blog post, CEO Kevin Mandia described it as “an attack by a country with first class offensive capabilities.” He later said that the hackers’ primary goal appeared to be to steal information from the company’s government clients.
Investigators from the FBI’s Internet Division said early indications indicated that whoever was in charge had “a high level of sophistication consistent with the nation-state.”
Hackers apparently gained access to computer systems by breaking into SolarWinds, an Austin-based company that provides remote IT services to Long list Clients worldwide, including many US government agencies and large corporations.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive directing federal agencies to immediately stop using the version of SolarWinds products.
The cyber attack began in early March but was only discovered this month. Many of the targets were government agencies or companies contracting with governments or think tanks. Information and technology companies have also taken a hit, according to Microsoft.
On Friday, members of the Homeland Security and Oversight Committee said they had been briefed on the matter but were left with “more questions than answers.”
“After receiving a confidential member of the Trump administration’s briefing today on the major breach of government systems, we have more questions than answers,” committee leaders said in a statement. “Even in the midst of an unprecedented, large-scale cyber attack. The implications for our national security, administration officials were not prepared to share the full scope of the violation and the identities of the victims.”
State Department officials confirmed on Friday that the last two remaining US consulates in Russia, in the city of Vladivostok in Russia’s far east and in Yekaterinburg in the east of the Ural Mountains, will be closed. The spokesman said in a statement that the decision was taken “to improve the work of the American mission in Russia.”
“The resulting personnel reorganization at the US embassy in Moscow will allow us to promote our foreign policy interests in Russia in the most effective and safe way,” the statement said.
Ken Dilanian and Abigail Williams Contributed.