Stop Russian Cyber War on Our Country
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The subversive Russian activities, notably the cyber-attacks taken against our country, significantly distress those of us signing below. What further elevates our concerns is our federal government’s lack of action in protecting our country against these and future attacks. LTG H.R. McMaster’s recent emphatic statements echo are position: “Russia employs sophisticated strategies deliberately designed to achieve objectives and still fall below the target state’s threshold for a military response. Tactics include infiltrating social media, spreading propaganda, weaponizing information, and using other forms of subversion and espionage…. We cannot be passive, and hope that others will defend our freedom.”
Unfortunately, our President has not mobilized the country, inaction that is in stark contrast to the intense bi-partisan response after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Where the response to 9-11 unified this country then, the Russian cyber-attacks divide us now. Though American lives are not immediately at risk, our state and local election systems are. Our intelligence agencies have found that Russians “obtained and maintained access to multiple U.S. state and local election boards” and that numerous voter rolls have been accessed. We are also aware that our power grids, including conventional and nuclear power plants, may be compromised.
In addition, our President is far more interested in attacking our Justice Department, FBI, intelligence agencies, and prior administration than he is in criticizing Russia and its leaders. These attacks are damaging our democratic institutions in ways that may not be totally apparent to us for years to come. We are grateful for the strong, but very belated sanctions taken against Russia, but we have grave concerns that these sanctions, though necessary, are insufficient to ward off future cyber-attacks. In our opinion, what is needed is more effective presidential leadership and engagement to forestall further Russian interference.
CALL FOR ACTION: In the absence of said leadership, we call on you, our Senators, to give us assurance that Congress will urge stronger protections against external and internal threats. Specifically, we ask that you:
1. Urge the Senate to press President Trump to take stronger action.
2. Encourage your Senate colleagues to censure the President for dereliction of duty should he neglect or refuse to act.
3. Encourage the Senate to enact legislation to protect upcoming elections and our national infrastructure against future Russian cyber-attacks by mobilizing key federal agencies, supporting state governments, and assuring the integrity of social media including Facebook and Twitter. Recommendations to safeguard against foreign meddling in the 2018 primary season made by the Senate Intelligence Committee on 20 March 2018 represent a good start, but much more aggressive legislation is critical to protect our election process.
4. Advocate for our democracy by urging your Senate colleagues to speak out, visibly and concretely assuring that Mueller’s investigation into the Russian cyber-attacks will continue unimpeded until completion. To this end, support passage of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.
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