US President Donald Trump has appeared to backtrack from the idea of partnering with Russia for the creation of a joint cyber security division.
Trump discussed the plans with Russia President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg last week, with the aim being to set a new precedent of cooperation in order to protect against the high-profile issue of election hacking.
However, he has now distanced himself from the idea after facing criticism for wanting to work with a country that has been widely accused of tampering with last year’s Presidential election.
In his first public comments regarding the meeting with Putin, Trump claimed to have “strongly pressed” Putin about the alleged election meddling and said that it was “time to move forward in working constructively with Russia”.
He later wrote on Twitter: “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded… and safe.”
However, just a few hours later he posted another Tweet which seems to back away from any arrangement, saying: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!”
Former US defence secretary Ash Carter was one person who publicly condemned the idea, saying that any such cooperation would be “like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary: It’s they who did this”.
In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election, experts warned that it could be at risk from hacking after US authorities officially blamed Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
It is now widely believed that Russia had a hand in affecting the outcome of the election, with the issue coming to a head in December when former President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and their families.
The GCHQ has also warned that UK democracy is at risk from Russian nation-state cyber attacks, despite Putin’s insistence that the Russian government has never been involved in any such activities.
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