During the G-7 summit, President Joe Biden stated that cybersecurity attacks on infrastructure are a red line, but former principal deputy to acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell and deputy assistant to former President Donald Trump on counterterrorism, Kash Patel, said that it “scares” him that the current president has said he needs to be further briefed on a huge holiday weekend ransomware attack.
“Two days ago, he ordered his intelligence community to brief him on the matter,” Patel said during an interview on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “(Having run) operations within the intelligence community, if he doesn’t already know about it, that scares me more than almost whether or not he’s going to respond.”
Researchers on Saturday said the ransomware attack on the Miami-based IT company Kaseya potentially targeted 1,000 businesses. Russian-based hackers have been blamed for other ransomware attacks after Biden took office, and he took up the threat while talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva in June.
Saturday, Biden ordered the investigation, saying that “the initial thinking was it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet.”
Patel noted Tuesday that the breach was the third major one since Biden took office.
“What it does is it basically freezes these companies’ abilities to operate, which in turn freezes these companies’ abilities to operate, which in turn freezes their customers’ accounts … it freezes people out of the American economic system, is the long and short of it,” Patel went on to say.
The U.S. has “some of the most exquisite intelligence infrastructure in place to determine and detect these types of ransomware attacks or cyberattacks,” Patel explained. “More importantly, we have the ability to block them, if it’s a priority for the administration, but again, it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the administration. They just want political talking points and he wants to hand President Putin note cards on what not to attack. I don’t think this is going to slow down in the near future.”
Patel said that the United States should definitely consider taking clandestine action in this matter, but explained that President Biden needs to do something publicly to help restore the trust of the American people.
Under President Trump’s leadership, tariffs were placed against the Russian Federation, and now, “we should start issuing sanctions against Vladimir Putin and his cronies who are causing these cyberattacks,” Patel went on to say. “There are very public and very economically damaging actions that the U. S government can take so the American people can witness to see that the American government has its back.”
Patel doesn’t believe that Congress will take any sort of action to put legislation in place that would prevent companies from paying the ransom to get their computer systems back if they are targeted for such an attack.
He went on to say he doesn’t think these attacks are being done without Putin’s knowledge or blessing.
“Vladimir Putin is a KGB officer,” he added. “That means he is a spy through and through. HE didn’t stop being a spy when he became the head of the Russian Federation. He changed their Constitution so he could serve for the rest of his life. That is how Russia is run, and whether he directed it personally or indirectly, that is the policy of the Russian Federation to impede the American infrastructure, and he continues to do so, 10 days after meeting with the American president in Geneva, Switzerland. Seems like they’ve got a great relationship, doesn’t it?”