President Trump’s choice to lead the National Security Agency (NSA) said Thursday that the United States’ response to Russian election interference has not been sufficient enough to change Moscow’s behavior. Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, nominated to lead both NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, was asked at his confirmation hearing whether he agreed with outgoing NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers’s statement that the response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election has not been strong enough. “It has not changed their behavior,” Nakasone told Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who asked the question. Nakasone appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee two days after Rogers, who faced tough questions over the Trump administration’s response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election during a hearing on the 2019 budget request for U.S. Cyber Command. Rogers heads that command in addition to the NSA.
At that hearing, Rogers pushed back on Democrats’ assertions that the Trump administration has done nothing to combat Russian election interference, but acknowledge Moscow has not paid a high-enough price.
“They haven’t paid a price, at least, that has significantly changed their behavior,” Rogers said.
The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats from the U.S. at the end of 2016 for interfering in the election. Last summer, President Trump signed legislation passed by Congress that leveled new sanctions against Moscow for its behavior.