By Alexander Jaffe and MEG Kinnear, Associated Press
Willington, Del. (AP) – President-Elect Joe Biden on Tuesday assured the Trump administration of failing to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity, and President Donald Trump to publicly identify the perpetrator of a massive violation of US government agencies Called to do – a hack Some of Trump’s top allies have accused Russia.
High-level intelligence is being briefed in preparation for taking office next month, Biden said, adding that the hacking scheme began in early 2019. Several federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, have said they were targeted.
“There’s still a lot we don’t know,” Biden said during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware. “But we know it a lot: this attack is a serious threat to our national security. It was carefully planned and carefully orchestrated.”
The US government has not formally assessed who was behind the attack, but both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have indicated all indications for Russia. But Trump, who has long been blaming Moscow for his provocations, has not followed suit and instead suggested – without proof – that China may have carried out the hack.
The Treasury Department’s breach began in July, but experts believe the overall hacking operation began months ago when malicious code slipped into updates to popular software that monitors the computer networks of businesses and governments.
“The truth is, the Trump administration failed to prioritize cybersecurity,” Biden said. “The attack happened on Donald Trump’s watch while he was not watching.”
Given Trump’s reluctance to publicly blame Russia, it appears likely that any formal US retaliation for hacking would cause Biden to fall. The president-elect said he would work closely with allies to hold the country’s states accountable for cyber states and his administration made cyber security a top priority.
Biden spoke a day after Congress passed a $ 900 billion coronavirus aid bill that includes direct payments to many Americans and aid for struggling small businesses. She called the bill a “down payment” on a comprehensive relief bill she planned to take into office in January.
“Like all agreements, it’s perfect,” Biden said. “Congress did its job this week, and I can and I should ask them to do it again next year.”
The presidential-election also expressed sympathy for the families who have struggled through the epidemic this year and the resulting economic uncertainty. He particularly sang with frontline activists, scientists, researchers, clinical trial participants and family members stationed over the holiday season.
“Our hearts are always with you – be confident,” Biden said, even warning that the country is facing “dark winters” as COVID-19 cases increase across the country Have been. More than 320,000 people have died from the virus. United States of america.
He urged Americans to continue to exercise caution, especially during the holidays when many usually accompany family and friends. Looking at the ways the epidemic has changed its own holiday celebrations, which typically include two dozen relatives, Biden said “not this year.”
On Monday, Biden was vaccinated on live television in an effort to reassure people that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.
“I look forward to the second shot, and I have full faith in the vaccine,” Biden said. “But we are in short supply.”
With almost a month to go until his inauguration, Biden is working through the holiday to build his cabinet and White House team. According to people familiar with the case, he is hoping to nominate Connecticut’s education chief Miguel Cardona.
Biden’s transition team announced a new round of White House staff appointments on Tuesday, led by longtime aide Bruce Reid as deputy chief of staff. Reid served as Biden’s chief of staff during his first term as vice president and has long been a close member of Biden’s inner circle of advisors.
But during a full week of speculation over Biden’s cabinet selection, progressivists have expressed concern over what they see as Reid’s liberal political views and fiscal conservatism.
Progressivists prevailed in the latest round of staff announcements, however, with Gautam Raghavan appointed as the Deputy Director of the President’s office. Raghavan appointed Rep. Pramila Jaipal as chief of staff, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and in his new position he will help evaluate applicants for thousands of federal jobs and appointments throughout the administration.
Biden has appointed Anne Philip as director of management and administration, Ryan Montoya as director of scheduling and advancement, Vinay Reddy as director of speech writing and Elizabeth Wilkins as head of staff. All are alumni of the Obama-Biden administration, and Montoya and Reddy also worked on Biden’s campaign.
Kinnear reported from Columbia, South Carolina.
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