The bad blood between the New York Times and President Donald Trump is well known, and a whole new chapter of that ill opened up over the weekend when the newspaper reported that the United States was “stepping up” cyber attacks on Russia’s power grid.
Trump blasted the article on Twitter, accusing The N.Y. Times of “treason,” which prompted a counter from the paper labeling the president’s response “dangerous.”
More from The Times’s article published on Saturday:
“The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.
In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.
Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.
Interestingly, reporters David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth seemed prepared for a presidential denial.
“Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid,” they reported.
And the denial came fast and furious, as Trump took to Twitter, accusing the “Failing New York Times” of treason and insisting the report was “NOT TRUE” — he did not go into specifics on what was untrue.
“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,” he 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.”
“ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,” Trump said in a follow up tweet. “They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence!”
Suffice it to say, the Old Gray Lady didn’t take too kindly to the president’s scolding.
The newspaper may have mistaken indifference as consent, as seen when it cited National Security Council officials saying they had no national security concerns about the details in the article.
“Accusing the press of treason is dangerous,” the Times’s communications account tweeted. “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.”
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
As for what may or may not be dangerous, the anti-Trump media cabal seemingly collaborating in their efforts to destroy this president has to be somewhere on that list.
While there was little interest in JournoList when it was uncovered during the Obama years, the speed and consistency of the attacks on Trump certainly bring to mind this cooperative.
Accusing the president of the United States of being a Russian spy should also be a contender for such a list, as a social media user suggested:
Just as dangerous as the Media accusing @POTUS Trump of being a Russian spy which is even more dangerous and TREASONOUS. ??
— SoCal Conservative Patriot (@JimiAlex) June 16, 2019
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