The US military has issued a stunning but perhaps not entirely unexpected admission that it has been conducting offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine. It marks the first ever such acknowledgement, and suggests – as many observers have long suspected – a deeper Pentagon and US intelligence role in Ukraine against the Russian military than previously thought.
National Security Agency (NSA) and US Cyber Command Director Gen. Paul Nakasone told the UK's Sky News on Wednesday, "We’ve conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum: offensive, defensive, [and] information operations." This includes "offensive hacking operations" he said.
Without offering specific details, he continued, "My job is to provide a series of options to the secretary of Defense and the president, and so that’s what I do." Importantly, Gen. Nakasone gave the interview from allied Baltic country Estonia, from which other supporting operations including weapons transfers for Ukraine have come.
He spoke of major attempts of the Russians to launch infrastructurally devastating cyberattacks on Ukraine, saying, "And we've seen this with regards to the attack on their satellite systems, wiper attacks that have been ongoing, disruptive attacks against their government processes."
"This is kind of the piece that I think sometimes is missed by the public. It isn't like they haven't been very busy, they have been incredibly busy. And I think, you know, their resilience is perhaps the story that is most intriguing to all of us," he said, describing the Ukrainian response.
As for support the US has given Ukraine in the lead-up to the Russian invasion, the NSA director referenced the following:
Nakasone previously said his agency deployed a “hunt forward” team in December to help Ukraine shore up its cyber defenses and networks against active threats. But his latest remarks appear to be the first time that a U.S. official said publicly that the U.S. has been involved in offensive cyber operations in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
And like any powerful deep state insider of the intelligence community, he referenced alleged Kremlin attempts to influence US elections. "We had an opportunity to start talking about what particularly the Russians were trying to do in our midterm elections. We saw it again in 2020, as we talked about what the Russians and Iranians were going to do, but this was on a smaller scale."
"The ability for us to share that information, being able to ensure it's accurate and it's timely and it's actionable on a broader scale has been very, very powerful in this crisis," he added in the interview.
US Cyber Command specialists were deployed to Ukraine and conducted offensive operations against Russia, its commander and NSA Director General Paul Nakasone said on Wednesday.
— CatoTheYounger (@catoletters) June 1, 2022
Despite the whole Russian military and intelligence machine being currently entrenched and busy executing the over 3-month war in Ukraine, the American public is further being told Moscow is now eyeing 'interference' in the upcoming midterms next Fall.
According to The Hill: "Experts have warned that Russia will likely deploy its cyber operations in the 2022 midterm elections, which may take different forms, including disinformation campaigns and election hacking. The experts also said that Russia’s playbook is to divide the U.S. along party lines and suppress voter turnout." However, it's laughable to think that somehow it takes a foreign actor to "divide" the US "along party lines" – as if this is some new phenomenon.