Rep. Eric Swalwell was mocked online earlier this week for criticizing Republicans and President Donald Trump in the wake of reports that Russian hackers had penetrated key U.S. government systems, likely for some time.
“While Republicans are losing their minds on Trump Island, the United States Government is being hacked. Anyone want to tell the President? Maybe, I don’t know, protect our country and the businesses affected?” the California Democrat wrote on Thursday.
While Republicans are losing their minds on Trump Island, the United States Government is being hacked. Anyone want to tell the President? Maybe, I don’t know, protect our country and the businesses affected?
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 17, 2020
Last week, Reuters reported that hackers believed to be tied to Moscow had been engaged in monitoring emails at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments. Cybersecurity experts and government officials adjudged the breach serious enough it compelled the National Security Council to meet with Trump administration officials at the White House a week ago.
Officials said little about the breach at the time other than the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI were investigating. Hackers are believed to have penetrated U.S. systems via updates released by SolarWinds, an IT firm that has contracts with dozens of government, military, and intelligence community agencies.
Hackers are believed to have engaged in a “supply chain attack” — that is, hiding malicious code in legitimate software updates.
As for Swalwell, his comment comes amid a scandal of his own involving a Chinese spy known as Fang Fang, a.k.a. Christine Fang, with who he is suspected of also having had a romantic relationship. Republicans have grown increasingly concerned about it because the California Democrat who frequently pushed the baseless Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Following a briefing on the matter by the FBI, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said flatly, “Swalwell should no longer be on the Intel Committee.”
But it was his focus on the Russian hacking that earned Swalwell mocking scorn from several users online.
Your self awareness is stunning…
— j smith (@jen87nc) December 17, 2020
Maybe if you didn’t give all our secrets to our enemy over some ass, we wouldn’t have been hacked
— McKayla J (@McKaylaRoseJ) December 17, 2020
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) December 17, 2020
This dude sleeps with a Chinese Spy, the intel he passed along to our enemies we’ll never know and yet he has the audacity to take to Twitter to criticize Trump’s handling of foreign hacking?
— Greg Boucher ⭐🇺🇸⭐ (@GregBoucher93) December 18, 2020
The hackers probably got the passwords when you leaked them to the Chinese spy you were banging.
— Ordy Packard’s Peppermint Yule Log (@OrdyPackard) December 17, 2020
Idk what was your job on the intel committee besides banging Chinese spies?
— Dan 🇺🇸 (@danieltobin) December 17, 2020
Fang Fang says what now?
— Sarah (@BooBooNyc) December 17, 2020
Separately, other outlets reported that Russian hacking will most likely be a major intelligence concern for Joe Biden’s administration, should he take office, though Republicans are doubtful his administration will be effective.
In an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Dana Perino, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) expressed doubt that Biden would hold Russia accountable for much of anything.
“I have never seen Joe Biden hold one bad actor anywhere around the world accountable for anything,” Scott said. “When he says that, people laugh because he’s never done it.”
Scott went on to call the breach “serious,” adding that the U.S. must “do everything we can to hold those who do these things accountable.”
The Florida Republican wouldn’t say specifically what accountability should look like, but added that Moscow, if determined to be responsible for the breach, had “to suffer consequences.”
Scott went on to say he also believes that the Trump administration should appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden’s connections to foreign governments including China when asked about Beijing’s influence operations involving Swalwell and other U.S. political figures.
“We need transparency,” Scott said. “What was Hunter Biden doing in Ukraine? What was he doing in China? How was Joe Biden involved in these things?”
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