Director of National Security Agency and Cyber Command Prepares to Battle the Kremlin on U.S. Elections
Paul Nakasone, the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, will direct the two organizations to coordinate actions to counter potential Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections. The move is the latest initiative by national security agencies to push back against Russian aggression in the absence of direct guidance from the White House on the issue. Nakasone, the first Japanese American to lead a major spy agency, wants to better coordinate NSA intelligence-gathering on Russian cyberactivities and CyberCom’s plans to thwart Kremlin operations. When directed by the President or Defense Secretary, the military unit may also take offensive action such as disrupting an adversary’s computer networks. For now, the joint CyberCom-NSA Russia group is working with the FBI, the CIA, and Department of Homeland Security, each of which has its own initiative to detect and deter Russian influence operations. An intelligence official told WaPo that though the agencies are working within their own authorities, “the lack of presidential guidance to address this as a national problem impedes the ability” to carry out a more robust and effective effort -- one that aligns resources and results. Nakasone told Congress in April during his confirmation hearing, “The most important thing is we want the (Russians’) behavior to change. ... We want them to pay a price.” He added that one of the most disturbing facts is that the United States’ adversaries, including Russia, “don’t fear us.” More here.