- President Donald Trump accused The New York Times of treason, after the newspaper published a story that said the United States is ramping up cyberattacks against Russia.
- The Times’ story said that the Trump administration had deployed new cybertools to target Russia’s electric power grid.
- It also said administration officials had been reluctant to share certain details with Trump, because they were concerned about his reaction and whether he might discuss it with foreign officials.
- Officials on the National Security Council said they had no national security concerns about The Times’ report, according to The Times.
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President Donald Trump fired off two enraged tweets at The New York Times on Saturday evening, accusing the newspaper of committing a “virtual act of Treason” for publishing a story that said the United States is ramping up cyberattacks against Russia.
“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…”
He continued: “…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes without Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
The Times’ story reported that the Trump administration deployed new cybertools targeting Russia’s electric power grid, citing unnamed current and former government officials.
The newspaper quickly responded to Trump on Twitter, saying “accusing the press of treason is dangerous,” and noting that national security officials had raised no concerns about the story before it was published.
Accusing the press of treason is dangerous.
We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns. https://t.co/MU020hxwdc pic.twitter.com/4CIfcqKoEl
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) June 16, 2019
The Times reported that the cyberattacks were meant to serve as a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The story added that officials on the National Security Council said they had no national security concerns about The Times’ report, “perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians.”
The Times also cited two administration officials who said they believed Trump himself had not been briefed on details of some of the attacks on the Russian grid, concerned about his reaction and whether he might cancel the efforts or discuss it with foreign officials.
Saturday was not the first time Trump accused The Times of treason. He also used the term in September 2018 after the newspaper published an op-ed written by an unnamed Trump official who said they were part of a “resistance” within the administration.
“Number one, The Times should never have done that, because what they have done is, virtually, you know, it’s treason. You could call it a lot of things,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.”
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