America’s cadre of cyber warriors are working tirelessly to curb the threat posed by Russian attacks on U.S. military and civilian networks, including those highlighted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said.
Moscow’s ability to manipulate social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to sow disinformation among U.S. voters, and hack into various state and federal networks to leak sensitive information on the then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were examples of Russia’s formidable cyber capabilities the Pentagon and others are fighting to curb.
“Russians present a risk. My job is to manage the risk,” Mr. Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, ahead of a meeting with Albania’s Minister of Defense Olta Xhacka.
The U.S. government’s own cyberwarfare operators at the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and elsewhere have “tremendous capability” to ensure the U.S. maintains the upper hand on the electronic battlefield, Mr. Shanahan said.
His comments come the same day Attorney General Robert Barr released a redacted version of Mr. Mueller’s 400-page report Thursday, based on his over two-year investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and whether the White House sought to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Mr. Mueller found no legal evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump administration and Moscow to interfere in the 2016 race, but his investigation did uncover evidence of “Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential elections” through cyberwarfare attacks and manipulation of social media networks.