Woolsey: The Chinese Are Good At Hacking And Making It Look Like Someone Else

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Former CIA director and Trump adviser James Woolsey speaks with ABC's Martha Raddatz about why Donald Trump has not acknowledged that Russia is behind the hacking of the election.

RADDATZ: I want to ask you right away, why hasn’t President-Elect Trump acknowledged that the Russians are behind it?

WOOLSEY: Well, there’s a strong chance the Russians are behind it; I don’t know the technical side of who analyzed and made the final determinations. But the Russians are doing things all the time in related areas. They have a program they call disinformation, dezinformatsiya, which essentially means lying. And they doctor photos of people and put them in publications. They have thousands of people who do this. So Russian deception is pretty much constant in international communications and newspapers and --

RADDATZ: But wouldn’t our intelligence officers, our intelligence professionals, know exactly what you’re saying?

WOOLSEY: Yes, but --

RADDATZ: There’s disinformation and they would plan for that.

WOOLSEY: Maybe. Sometimes they don’t pay as much attention to open source stuff as I would like to see.

But one would think that would certainly be a place to start, whether that’s the exact proper conclusion, I don’t know.

RADDATZ: Donald Trump keeps saying it could be China or someone in bed. Is that possible?

WOOLSEY: Well, the Chinese are good, and one of the things you do in cyber is try to look like somebody else. So to have your hacking look like somebody else’s hacking.

But there’s -- looks like there’s a building consensus on this.

RADDATZ: Given what you’ve heard, and all that 17 intelligence agencies agree and the president said this, do you believe it was a Russian hack?

WOOLSEY: Well, 17 agencies -- that includes the National Reconnaissance Office that flies satellites and have nothing to do with this, I mean.

RADDATZ: But do you believe that it was a Russian?

WOOLSEY: This is really an NSA decision, and if -- I think more than anything else. And if NSA is confident that it’s the Russians, then it almost certainly is. Depends on them.

RADDATZ: OK. The CIA director Michael Hayden says Trump is already antagonizing the intelligence community and that’s a problem. Is it a problem if he doesn’t agree with the intelligence community when he comes and takes office?

WOOLSEY: Well, you know, I think that is really the wrong stance to take. The intelligence community works for the president, not the other way around. They don’t -- he doesn’t report to them. That’s really I think a rather backwards statement from the intelligence agency.

I think that it’s important to realize also that your response to these things often does not need to be and should not be in the same box that you are attacked in. Just because cyber is what came at us probably from Russians doesn’t mean we go back with cyber attacks or deterrence or anything. For example, you could take steps to lower the price of oil by letting substitutes in for driving cars, methanol (with an M) instead of just gasoline. That will drive the price of oil and gasoline down rather substantially. You can’t think of anything that’s going to:

A) be more of a problem for Russia, and:

B) be more helpful to American consumers and industry than that.

So why not do that instead of getting all bogged down on exactly who hacked whom, when.

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