Former Obama administration National Security Council cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel confirmed on Wednesday that a “stand down” order was given to counter Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 election.
During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho) asked Daniel about a passage in the book Russian Roluette. The passage was about a staffer from Daniel’s team, Daniel Prieto, retelling the time that Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice told Daniel and his team to halt their efforts and to “stand down” in countering Russia’s cyberattacks.
Daniel was quoted saying to his team that they had to stop working on options to counter the Russian attack: “We’ve been told to stand down.” Prieto is quoted as being “incredulous and in disbelief” and asking, “Why the hell are we standing down?”
Daniel and his team were tasked in developing options to Russia’s cyberattacks on the United States. Russian hacked the Democratic National Committee servers in 2015 and into voter registration systems of several U.S. states in 2016.
“But as far as your cyber response, you were told to stand down. Is that correct?” Risch asked.
“Those actions were put on the back burner, yes. That was not the focus of our activity during that time period,” Daniel said.
In the same hearing, former Obama State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Russian President Vladimir Putin expected deterrent measures when Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election but didn’t see them so he felt he could “keep pushing.”
Full article: Obama Cyber Chief Confirms ‘Stand Down’ Order Against Russian Cyberattacks (Washington Free Beacon)