FBI director James Comey has slapped down allegations from Donald Trump that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 campaign HQ, while confirming the Feds are investigating potential links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Appearing with NSA director, Mike Rogers in front of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee yesterday, Comey was unequivocal.
“With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” he’s fi.
The controversial FBI boss also confirmed for the first time that the authorities have been investigating links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since last July.
National security advisor Mike Flynn has already been forced to resign after lying about meetings with the Russian ambassador, and attorney general Jeff Sessions has also recently come under the spotlight for similar reasons.
Considering Comey has already publicly stated that he believes Russian President Putin wanted Trump to win the race for the White House last year, many will question why he didn’t disclose the investigation to the US public ahead of the election.
On the other hand, the former Republican party member was quick to intervene in the run-up to the election by announcing the bureau was to reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server – before closing it again just two days before polling day.
Comey also warned at the committee hearing yesterday that Russian agents would attempt to influence the 2020 US presidential election and possibly the congressional elections next year.
John Bambenek, threat systems manager at Fidelis Cybersecurity, argued that while there’s little evidence to suggest Russian interference impacted the final vote count, “the real impact is the harm and destabilization we continue to bring upon ourselves.”
“A US that is consumed with bitter infighting and openly questions the legitimacy of its own institutions is dramatically less able to curtail Russia's geopolitical ambitions. That is exactly what they want,” he added.
Hank Thomas, COO at Strategic Cyber Ventures, argued that the recent election interference by the Kremlin – primarily by hacking and releasing damaging Democratic Party emails to aid Trump, is straight out of the Russian military information operations handbook.
“The level of access and the speed of maneuver that weak cybersecurity provides them is ripe for exploit. They want to move out as fast as they can while the hunting is easy and the potential to influence as many critical events as possible exists," he added. "They will in parallel attempt to gain and maintain persistent access on western networks of interest. Russian military doctrine has for years emphasized reinforcing success, even on the traditional kinetic battlefield. This is no different.”