Dec 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Romney: White House should "say something aggressive" on Russian cyberattack

Photo of a masked Mitt Romney walking outside the Capitol

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called on the White House to “aggressively” condemn a suspected Russian cyberattack in an interview with SiriusXM on Thursday evening.

Why it matters: Since news broke that hackers tied to Russia penetrated U.S. government networks and companies, public officials including President-elect Biden have come forward with rebukes. President Trump has been largely silent, though the White House has held emergency meetings with officials across agencies to address the breach, per Bloomberg.

What he's saying: It’s “quite extraordinary” that the White House isn’t “aggressively speaking out and protesting and taking punitive action," Romney said.

  • “How could this possibly go on for so long?” Romney asked. “We clearly are not up to speed in defending our systems.”

The big picture: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency described the attack as “a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.”

  • Biden released a statement shortly after, saying: “A good defense isn’t enough; we need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyberattacks in the first place."
  • "We will do that by, among other things, imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks,” Biden added.

The White House has not responded to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper