- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Democratic bid to block the United States from establishing a cybersecurity alliance with Russia is gaining steam in Congress after President Trump discussed and then dismissed creating an “impenetrable” cybersecurity unit this week with his Kremlin counterpart.

Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania introduced the No Cyber Cooperation with Russia Act on Wednesday afternoon and has since garnered the support of a half-dozen fellow Democrats, including Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, California Rep. Ted Lieu, Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen, Pennsylvania Rep. Dwight Evans and New York Reps Eliot Engel and Yvette Clarke.

The bill serves as “a pointed response” to comments Mr. Trump made at the G-20 summit earlier this week, Mr. Boyle’s office said in a statement, where the U.S. and Russian presidents reportedly “discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded,” according to a tweet sent by Mr. Trump early Sunday.

The proposed alliance spurred heated reactions from Republicans and Democrats alike given Russia’s widely perceived involvement in last year’s White House race before Mr. Trump offered an addendum several hours later, tweeting: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t.”

Mr. Trump’s clarification aside, Mr. Boyle said Congress must be “clear and unwavering” with respect to matters of national security and oppose any such partnership between former Cold War foes.

“There’s no room for reckless comments or actions that threaten our democracy and alienate our true allies,” Mr. Boyle said in a statement. “The president’s comments are indicative of the lack of seriousness he is giving this issue, and just the latest example of him playing fast and loose with American foreign policy and our place in the world.”

The No Cyber Cooperation with Russia Act would bar Washington from working with Moscow on cybersecurity matters by prohibiting the use of federal funds to establish, support, or otherwise promote a joint cybersecurity initiative with Russia, according to its language. It was formally introduced Wednesday and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“Frankly, I am appalled that this legislation is necessary,” Mr. Boyle said in a statement.

“It is a sad state of affairs when Congress needs to prohibit this type of information sharing with an adversary,” Mr. Lieu added. “I urge my colleagues across the aisle to join us in sending a clear message that Congress will not stand for this proposal to undermine U.S. national security.”

U.S. intelligence officials have said that Mr. Putin authorized Russian hackers and propagandists to target Mr. Trump’s former rival, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in turn boosting Mr. Trump’s White House bid. Mr. Putin has denied the allegations.

A separate amendment proposed to the annual Pentagon spending bill Monday would similarly block any cyber arrangement with Russia by barring the use of federal funds.

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