Adm. Mike Rogers tells Senate panel agency isn’t targeting ‘the origin of these attacks’
The head of the NSA, Adm. Michael Rogers, has said he doesn’t expect Russia’s intrusions to stop. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
ByNancy A. Youssef
WASHINGTON—The head of the National Security Agency told lawmakers Tuesday that he hadn’t been formally asked by President Donald Trump to take steps to disrupt Russian election hacking activity at its source.
Adm. Mike Rogers was asked by Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he had been directed by the president, through the secretary of defense, to strike “the origin of these attacks.”
“No, I have not,” Adm. Rogers replied.
Elaborating, he said that while he has directed his agency to begin “some specific work” that he wouldn’t specify in an unclassified setting, the agency hasn’t pursued other work to counter Russian meddling.
“It’s probably fair to say that we have not opted to engage in some of the same behaviors that we are seeing, if I could just keep it at that,” said Adm. Rogers, who also serves as the head of U.S. Cyber Command.
The exchange before the Senate committee indicated that while the U.S. has taken defensive steps against Russia for its suspected hacking activity, it wasn’t conducting offensive measures, such as attacking the networks behind the intrusions in U.S. elections. Adm. Rogers and other intelligence officials say they don’t expect the intrusions to stop.
“Is Russia attempting to achieve a strategic objective by influencing U.S. public opinion and elections?” Mr. Reed asked Adm. Rogers.
“Yes, sir. I believe they are attempting to undermine our institutions,” Adm. Rogers replied.
Asked about Adm. Rogers’s comments, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later Tuesday that the president “is open to looking at a number of different ways to make sure Russia doesn’t meddle in our elections.”
Ms. Sanders said there could be action in the “coming weeks and months.”