The Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers just came out publicly on Saturday dismissing President Trump’s proposal to set up a joint U.S.-Russia cyber security unit, which was immediately ridiculed by several U.S. lawmakers after it was first announced.
Speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum, Rogers told those gathered in attendance: “I’m not a policy guy here. …. I would argue now is probably not the best time to be doing this.”
Rogers then got pretty passionate while speaking, indicating he was willing to stand up to anyone – even the president of the United States – who has asked him to use the U.S. intelligence community as a political prop.
“We are not about particular viewpoints. We are not about particular parties. We just can’t work that way. I will not violate the oath I have taken in the 26 years as a commission officer.”
Rogers’ face hardened and his voice cracked: “I won’t do that.”
Rogers added that the U.S. intelligence community owes U.S. citizens “honesty and integrity.”
Trump first told the world about the prospect of forming a joint effort between both countries after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group 20 Summit held in Hamburg earlier this month.
Just a few days ago, Russia’s government-run media quoted Russia’s special envoy on cyber security Andrey Krutskikh who confirmed that talks were currently underway to create the bilateral working group, saying if established it would probably create a “problem” for Trump.
Trump should probably consult with his NSA chief before starting those talks, just an idea.
Rogers did elaborate on his comment, though. He said such a unit was “something that you might want to build over time were we to see changes in (Russia’s) behavior.”
What’s especially telling is at the end of the conference he said he had “no doubt at all” that Russia was to blame for the cyber assault on the 2016 election, which to this day Trump still maintains he’s unsure of who’s responsible.
You can watch the full forum here: