Jul 17, 2018

NSA, Cyber Command to counter Russian meddling without White House guidance

Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Paul Nakasone, who heads both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, has directed both security branches to coordinate actions to counter future Russian interference in this year’s midterm elections, the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima reports.

Why it matters: U.S. security agencies are taking action on Russian meddling without guidance from the White House — which now stands in the crosshairs of U.S. intelligence assessments on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections. President Trump’s stance was highlighted Monday when he was unable to stand behind U.S. intelligence and condemn Russian meddling during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

The details: Nakashima explains the NSA, which focuses on electronic spying, and the military's Cyber Command could launch joint offensive measures to disrupt adversaries’ computer networks. The NSA and Cyber Command would reportedly work with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. A DHS official confirmed the coordination to Axios. Cyber Command would not offer comment to Axios. The White House, NSA, FBI, and CIA did not immediately return request for comment.

The state of play: The FBI and DHS have been in coordination on election meddling. The FBI initiated a task force on election meddling last year that works with DHS, while DHS provides security scans to states for their election infrastructure — one of many methods to help states bolster their election infrastructure.

  • Russia is showing no signs of letting up on its hacking. And while the DHS has assessed that Russia doesn’t have a robust targeting campaign so far this year, the threat still looms, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this weekend.

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LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,495,061 — Total deaths: 346,232 — Total recoveries — 2,231,738Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,220 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy