Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, now affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice, says America’s detractors must learn that it will deter them when they mount cyber attacks.
In a commentary at the ACLJ, where he is the senior counsel for global affairs, Pompeo explained that already this year there have been several “large-scale cyber hacks and ransomware attacks” that apparently came from Russia and China.
He cited the Colonial Pipeline, RNC and other attacks, apparently from Russia.
“The Biden administration also recently stated, along with many of our allies, that state-sponsored groups in China were responsible for the Microsoft Exchange cyberattack earlier this year. These attacks on our economy and infrastructure do direct harm to the American people and their businesses, large and small. They must be addressed directly and decisively,” he said.
He credited President Biden for sitting down with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but called him out for letting the case die “without imposing real costs on our adversaries.”
“It can be difficult for our intelligence agencies to definitively locate” the origins of hacks, but the concept of deterrence is the same, he said.
“American leaders must not only draw red lines but also back them up, ensuring our adversaries know that we will respond to any attack on the American people,” he said.
It’s too bad, he lamented, that “actual retaliatory actions that Team Biden has imposed on Russia and China, which are what establish that deterrence, have been lacking.”
“The current administration is demonstrating weakness instead of reiterating that the United States is a force to be reckoned with,” he warned. “If Russia is confident that it can achieve its strategic objectives elsewhere in the world without serious pushback from the United States, then why should it fear reprisal for encroaching on the private information of the American people or extorting businesses in America?”
He then addressed the China issue, noting that Biden did confront the communist regime about a Microsoft hack.
“Team Biden now needs to follow up that tough talk with sanctions on Chinese Communist Party officials. We must take a tougher line on the CCP’s engagement in corporate espionage, which robs American companies of their intellectual property and uses it to the benefit of the Chinese military (something which was a focus of the Trump administration),” he said.
Americans need to be concerned about Biden’s hesitancy to punish those who offend, and, “If Team Biden obfuscates in the wake of the next cyberattack from Russia by avoiding placing blame squarely on Putin and his government and offering only a strongly worded response, attacks like the ones we have seen thus far will become more damaging and frequent.”
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