White House: US offensive cyber operations do not contradict Biden’s policy of no direct engagement with Russia

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

UPDATED 6:15 AM PT – Thursday, June 2, 2022

The White House is, once again, justifying President Joe Biden’s statements after reports of US cyber attacks against Russia have emerged. According to administration officials, this offensive against Russia does not violate Biden’s policy of not directly engaging with the country.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielded questions Wednesday about recent reports that the US was engaged in hacking operations aimed at Russia.
Reporter: Just speaking specifically about the offensive cyber action being taken from the United States against Russia. Is that not contrary to what the President has said in the past about not wanting to engage directly?)
Jean-Pierre: No, it’s not. We don’t see it as such.
Reporter: Can you talk about why offensive cyber activity against Russia is not?
Jean-Pierre: I mean, it’s just, we just don’t see it as such. We have talked about this before. We’ve had our cyber experts here at the podium layout what our plan is. That has not changed. So, the answer is just simply, no.’

The White House’s response came after the head of US Cyber Command, General Paul Nakasone, confirmed to Sky News that the US conducted a series of offensive hacking operations in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The four-star general did not offer details, but said they were offensive, defensive and information operations.

In a New York Times editorial Tuesday, Biden walked-back claims that he wanted to see Russian President Vladimir Putin removed from office despite previously saying he “could not remain in power.” Biden said the US does not seek a war between NATO and Russia. He also noted the US will not push for Putin’s ouster.

The President said as long as the US or it’s allies are not attacked, America will not directly engage in the war. Despite his claim, however, Biden affirmed the US will continue military, humanitarian and financial support for the Ukraine government. Nonetheless, the President failed to mention anything about cyber attacks.

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Amber Coakley
Author: Amber Coakley

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