Home » Budget Industry » NSA Head: Russian Interference in U.S. Election, ‘Hey, This Happened’

NSA Head: Russian Interference in U.S. Election, ‘Hey, This Happened’

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and head of the National Security Agency. US Navy Photo

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and head of the National Security Agency. US Navy Photo

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The head of the National Security Agency reiterated that Russia engaged in cyber actions to influence the result of the U.S. presidential election and said the Moscow-directed interference is changing the way the NSA thinks about U.S. critical infrastructure.

“We have been very public – particularly if I put on my NSA hat – in categorizing the behaviors we saw, from a cyber perspective, the Russians engaged in terms of our election process. We were very confident that, ‘hey, this happened.’ What does that mean?” said Adm. Rogers, who also heads U.S. Cyber Command, said on Thursday at the West 2017 conference.

“It highlights to us that we need to rethink what critical infrastructure means in the digital age. We tended to view historically critical infrastructure as something associated with an output. ‘Hey, air traffic. Hey, pipelines. The financial world. Power distribution.’ Generally, we thought a very industrial set of processes that generated some sort of output.”

What the Russians did to influence the U.S. election adds a new dimension to what the U.S. should work to protect from influence from a cyber action or attack, he said.

“What about information, data and fundamental processes like the ability to ensure high confidence that in a Western democracy the electoral outcome is actually reflective of the majority of our citizens, which is at the heart of the democratic system?” he said.
“We have to think of it in a different way, and data increasingly has a value all of its own.”

Rogers cited the attacks on the Office of Personnel Management – in which the personal data of more than 21. 5 million people who had undergone the U.S. security clearance process was breached – and the Russia’s hack of Democratic National Committee emails and subsequent distribution on Wikileaks as new types of threats.

“You saw that in OPM, you saw that with the Russians – the way they penetrated systems, moved data and then provided that in very public, unaltered format,” he said.
“So we have to work through that. We need to work with a broader set of nations to clearly signal that this is unacceptable, and we need to drive the calculus in a different way.”

Separately during the conference event, Rogers said the Trump administration has made cyber security a priority and predicted administration-level action soon.

The discussion’s moderator, retired Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme commander and U.S. Naval Institute chairman, said that a Trump executive order on cyber was in the works and asked Rogers on the status.

“There’s an ongoing dialogue that the administration – I don’t want to speak for them – but if you take their statements, they’ve been very upfront about the desire to make this a priority and a focus area in the early stages of the administration,” Rogers said.
“I expect it to play out sometime in the immediate near term. The process always takes longer than you would like, but I think this would play out. The biggest input I’ve tried to provide – and I’m just one voice – take this opportunity to step back and look at this with a new set of eyes and say, if you were creating this from the ground up, how would you do this?”

  • Guest

    Whether the Democrats provided good “material” is separate from Russian activities and intent.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Have they managed to prove that a DNC leak was in fact a Russian hack?
    (What with the two not being the same in any rational or reasonable way).

    • jackieray

      the DNC said it was the Russians and they would not lie? LMAO

  • ClayismyHome

    Still feed up with the smoke and mirrors attitude of ‘Let’s worry about who leaked all these emails’ so people will lose interest in the content. There have been no credible denials about the content, that should be the bigger worry.

    • FourWarVet


  • Ed L

    I though the cyber leaks were caused by IT people hired who were not properly vetted.

    • Michael M

      The leak was primarily the result of John Podesta using the word “password” as his password on his gmail account. Virtually every country in the world was reading those emails before WikiLeaks released them.

  • The Plague

    Funny for Rogers to mention the OPM-hack, since it was precisely him and DNI Clapper who refused to even speculate about the identity of the perpetrator. Trump ought to fire this kiss-a$$, but Trump seems weak-handed lately, putting subordinates in their place. Just look at the DHS-head, Kelly, going around in South America, telling all the brownies they need not fear “mass deportations”.

  • Matt

    The title of the article is misleading. The main takeaway I got from watching the interview was that we have lost the element of deterrence and that Trump is going to hold the agencies responsible for regaining that deterrence. The implication is that the last eight years and beyond in cyber were not dissimilar to the actions being taken in places like Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the South China Sea. Conflict was spiraling but now we can restore deterrence by identifying the problem and taking action. It is a good day when we know hot to restore peace and order.

    We are fortunate to have Admiral Rogers leading our county here. He seems very capable and motivated. He should be out front more, it removes some of the fear instilled by Snowden etc.

  • RobM1981

    OK, Admiral, help me here: What did the Russians do and – most importantly – what were the results?

    Can anybody – anyone at all – answer this? Admiral PantiesInAKnot sounds like so many others in an echo chamber, telling me that the sky fell – but I don’t see it.

    I *do* see media outlets, who are completely open to foreign influence, spinning their messages constantly. I see an internet loaded with information from the BBC, the Mirror, and about a zillion other non-US sources, spinning like crazy. I see Canada and Mexico acting as if this was their election, too, and painting their own doomsday pictures almost hourly. In all cases the US Outlets pick and choose which of these to peddle as “facts and news.”

    I see this. Oh boy, do I see this. They are probing and digging and often fabricating “facts” out of nothing.

    Hey, I’ve even see a President of the United States AND a Secretary of State tell me that an attack in Benghazi was due to videos. I can recite, chapter and verse, that story – and the outcome of it.

    Admiral, if you cannot do the same, I kindly ask you to pull your hat down over your face, so that I don’t have to hear any more of this drivel.

    What a bunch of malarkey.

    Yeah, Russia gave us Trump. Benghazi was caused by a video. The rioting in Sweden was caused by Trump, per Robbie Reich. Federalism is racist. SecState Clinton committed no crime.

    That’s quite a lens the left is using to display reality.

    • old guy

      AHHH, you’re a skeptic. You mean you didn’t believe them. The CNN, MSNBC, ABC and CBS pundits told you they were truthful. Next thing you/ll say is that you couldn’t keep your doctor, or insurance. POOO!

    • gypsyexpat

      Obviously you are a Trump fan – and not interested in finding out what happened. I am not a Hillary fan. I didn’t vote for Hillary or Trump, but I can see that there was cheating going on and I want someone to find out what happened… So let the investigation go on as long as it takes. There was a Benghazi investigation that went on and on by the Republican party, long after it was proven that there was no crime. Now it’s the Democratic’s time to investigate. And this time there was a crime and there will be proof.

      • Donald Carey

        Nothing had to be proved – the evidence was clear. (Congress isn’t the most competent bunch, ya know.)

    • FourWarVet

      So, one of the most respected and intelligent senior officers in the Navy says “This happened” while being interviewed by another highly respected former Admiral and you are willing to toss their credibility and statements into the *&%$ can because it doesn’t align with your world view. Wow! As an objective observer, and critical thinker, I am just fascinated at the lengths many Trump supporters will go to discard, or downplay anything that is critical of the President or his administration. There is zero doubt that the Russians interfered in the US election. One can argue about the impact of that interference, but the fact that they did it is not in question. Here’s another fact GEN Mike Flynn was fired because he was communicating with the Russians and lied about it.

      Something smells really bad here, and a lot of really smart, dedicated, and patriotic Americans that know all of the details about this matter will have to be wrong, for you to be right. My dollar is on ADM Rogers.

    • Western

      Agreed. Show me definitive proof, and how it directly led to Hillary winning the popular vote. And release Flynn’s recorded phone call.

  • old guy

    Now you know why NSA stands for NO SIGNIFICANT ANALYSIS. Can they say HOW they affected our election. I know of no one who changed their vote because the Russkies snooped, EVERY country has a full court press to get info.
    The key is No voting info on the internet. Only LAN, Hand carried results to central accounting locations, summary releases.

  • Pat Patterson

    So where is the proof other than a spook saying that the Russians did it? What voting machines were hacked when Hillary got 2 1/2 million more voted than Trump? How many voters really paid attention to Wikileaks? Wikileaks only confirmed what I already suspected of the Dems and Hill. Wikileaks did us all a service to expose the dirty side of liberal politics and the depth they will go to.

  • koconor100

    The last time someone “put on their NSA hat” , they lied through their teeth to congress, and then explained ” I told the smallest possible lie”

    No one is listening to you.

  • Russ Neal

    Good to see from the responses that no one is falling for this BS.

  • JCDavis

    //We were very confident that, ‘hey, this happened.//

    That, of course, means they are guessing. The NSA is only good at tapping politicians in the US and Europe to get blackmail dirt.

  • On Dre

    Trump boot lickers on here expressing their love for Russian hacks. Gotta love these oh so “real Americans”.
    Party over country. Love for the military over its citizens.
    Traitors. That’s what you are.
    Traitors. Would love to tell you to your faces.

    • JCDavis

      Another deep state lover.

      • On Dre

        Better than a traitor, traitor.

        • muzzleloader

          So you admit then, you are a deep state lover. Can we translate that as a Hillary lover?

      • muzzleloader

        And a Hillary lover.

  • NathanHale

    Propaganda to ensure budget. NO PROOF. FBI says it didn’t happen.

  • Donald Carey

    “What about information, data and fundamental processes like the ability
    to ensure high confidence that in a Western democracy the electoral
    outcome is actually reflective of the majority of our citizens, which is
    at the heart of the democratic system?” – How about dealing with the masasive voter fraud that occurred in predominantly Democrat precincts first? (Oh yeah, Obama said there was none – sure, that’s why they couldn’t recount all those predominantly Democrat districts where more votes were cast than there were registered voters.)