Trump DoD halts Biden transition

by Jon Fleetwood | ​December 18, 2020

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Defense Secretary Chris Miller has ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the Joe Biden transition team across the Defense Departement, reports Axios.

“The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe. As of today, we have supported 139 interviews sessions more than 200 DoD personnel, 161 requests for information, and disclosed thousands of pages of non-public and classified documents, exceeding prior transitions. At no time has the Department canceled or decline any interview,” Miller said in a statement.

 

Yohannes Abraham, Biden’s transition director, claims the halt was not “mutually agreed upon,” contradicting Miller’s statement.

 

“After the mutually-agreed upon holiday pause,” said Miller, “which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today.”

 

The halt comes after the DoD was attacked by hackers, an attack some are comparing to Pearl Harbor in scale, according to Newsweek.

 

The Pentagon staff were “overwhelmed by the number of meetings,” according to a Department official.

Colorado congressman Jason Crow (D) wrote in a tweet today saying “The situation is developing, but the more I learn this could be our modern-day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor.”

 

Crow wrote in another tweet, “Our nation is under assault. This cyberattack could be the largest in our history. We don't yet know the extent of the damage, but we know that we weren't prepared & have our work cut out for us.”

 

The compromised software comes from SolarWinds, a platform used by many government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Newsweek reports that “hackers were able to place malware in software updates that were downloaded by thousands of SolarWinds users.”

 

A cybersecurity company called FireEye discovered the hack. “We looked through 50,000 lines of source code,” stated FireEye’s response division, “which we were able to determine there was a backdoor within SolarWinds.”

 

A Trump admin official told Axios the attack was perpetrated “apparently by Russia.” “We still don’t know the bottom of the well,” they said, referring to the fact that the breach apparently began in March continuing through the 2020 presidential election.

 

The cyberattack breached not only the DoD, but also the State, Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce, and Energy departments. The National Nuclear Security Administration as well as the National Institutes of Health suffered damages as well.

 

Microsoft indicated the attack affected the US, UK, Israel, UAE, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, and Spain.

 

The breach “demonstrated sophistication and complex tradecraft” and “poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations,” according to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

 

Cybersecurity Expert Morgan Wright told Lou Dobbs on Fox Business that the attack “is almost like a prelude to war.” Wright explained that Lockheed Martin had been hit as well.

 

The Associated Press lamented, along with other news agencies, President Trump’s silence on the issue. But Trump and his VP Mike Pence are slated to meet with Sec. Miller today at 3:30 pm ET, according to White House schedules.