Murphy Urges Leadership to Request House-wide Briefing on Suspected Russian Hack

December 18, 2020 by Dan McCue
Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is urging House leadership to schedule a classified, bipartisan briefing for members of Congress regarding the recently revealed cyberattack on the networks of the federal government and major American companies.

The attack is widely believed to have been the work of a Russian intelligence agency.

In her letter, Murphy, a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, said, “public reports about the consequences of this attack for U.S. national security paint a very grim picture.” 

“A classified briefing by the relevant federal agencies would enable members to better understand the nature and extent of the attack, the precise parties responsible, whether more could have been done to prevent this attack and to prevent future attacks, and the range of options that are available to the United States to appropriately respond to the attack,” she said.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

One of the recipients of Murphy’s letter, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, also released a statement on the cyberattack Friday afternoon.

The other recipients of Murphy’s letter were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. 

“News in recent days of a significant breach of critical U.S. networks – from government agencies to American corporations – with all indications pointing to Russia as the culprit, ought to alarm every American,” Hoyer said.

“Under President Putin, Russia has engaged in cyber warfare against its adversaries, including brazen attacks on our country and our military, governmental, and economic institutions,” he continued. “This includes its campaigns to interfere in our elections and subvert our democracy. Russia’s goal has been clear all along: to sow chaos and division, to create confusion, mistrust, and lack of faith in the project of American democracy and American global leadership.”

The majority leader noted that Congress has been forceful and bipartisan in its response, sanctioning key Russian individuals involved and passing legislation like the SECURE Act and the SAFE Act to protect our elections from foreign interference.

“But a robust response to Russia’s actions must come from the president, who has so far been shockingly silent in the face of these attacks, just as he was silent when news emerged that Russia was paying bounties for the killing of U.S. military personnel,” Hoyer said. “It is clear that President Trump and his allies in Congress have no coordinated strategy to confront Russia’s malign actions, and these attacks make it even more essential that the National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress has now passed and sent to the president, is signed into law. “The president’s threat to irresponsibly veto that legislation only further emboldens Russia to continue its cyber-attacks. 

 “In just over a month, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as our new President, and I look forward to working with him to ensure that Congress and the administration are partnering to demonstrate the unified and serious response that Russia’s threats demand,” he said.

Murphy has called for increased transparency in the event of election interference by a foreign adversary and is the author of bipartisan legislation, the ALERTS Act, which would require notification to appropriate members of Congress, relevant state and local officials, and potentially affected voters when an election system is breached and voter information may have been compromised.

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