Biden slams Russia for ‘hack on Donald Trump’s watch’ in Christmas talk saying harder times ahead 

President-elect Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump for the recently revealed cyber attack, saying it happened on his predecessor’s watch.

‘His failure will land on my door step,’ Biden said Tuesday of the suspected Russian hack. ‘The attackers succeeded at catching the federal government off guard and unprepared.’

He accused the president of failing to protect Americans, noting most of people’s lives are conducted online.

‘This assault happened on Donald Trump’s watch when he wasn’t watching. He still has responsibility as president to defend American interests for the next four weeks,’ he said. 

‘They’re clearly not safe right now,’ Biden said of the American systems. 

President-elect Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump for the recently revealed cyber attack

President-elect Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump for the recently revealed cyber attack

The president-elect mixed his harsh criticism of Trump with a warning to Americans of a bleak holiday season ahead of them.

While acknowledging the two COVID vaccines being given to people, Biden warned ‘our darkest days’ are ahead of us in a speech his team billed as a holiday message.

He asked people to tamp down on their plans ahead of the Christmas season and New Year’s holiday, pleading with Americans to hold scaled-back events like experts recommended for Thanksgiving.

‘One thing I promise you about my leadership during this crisis, I’m going to tell it to you straight. I’m going to tell you the truth. And here’s the simple truth. Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us,’ he said.

‘So we need to prepare ourselves, to steel our spine.’

He acknowledged this was not the message people wanted to hear as the first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were distributed. 

‘As frustrating as it is to hear, it’s going to take patience, persistence and determination to beat this virus. There will be no time to waste in taking the steps we need to turn this crisis around. My administration will start to do its part on our first day in office, with masking requirement, a new strategy for testing, accelerated protection, protective gear. We’re gonna challenge congress and the American people to step up immediately as well to do their part,’ he said. 

His bleak words came as the United States is expected to have its deadliest year in American history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time – mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019, the Associated Press reported.

COVID-19 has killed more than 318,000 Americans and counting.

President-elect Biden charged President Donald Trump with failing to protect Americans, citing the cyber attack revealed last week

President-elect Biden charged President Donald Trump with failing to protect Americans, citing the cyber attack revealed last week

Biden mixed his harsh criticism of Trump with a warning to Americans of a bleak holiday season ahead of them

Biden mixed his harsh criticism of Trump with a warning to Americans of a bleak holiday season ahead of them

But much of Biden’s remarks were focused on the cyber hack, which intelligence experts have called the most devastating break in U.S. computer security in years.

‘There’s still so much we don’t know, including the full scope of the breach or the extent of the damage it has caused,’ Biden said. ‘But we know this much. This attack constitutes a grave risk for our national security. It was carefully planned and carefully orchestrated. It was carried out by using sophisticated cyber tools.’

Last week the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure entities, and private sector organizations had been exposed in the months-long cyberattack, in which hackers broke through a widely used piece of security software created by the American company SolarWinds. 

Biden did not point the finger at a specific perpetrator but noted Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia.

‘Certainly fits Russia’s long history of reckless disruptive cyber activities,’ Biden said.

And the president-elect confirmed reports Pentagon officials have stopped briefing his transition team.

‘I see no evidence that it’s under control. I’ve seen none. The defense department won’t brief us on many things. So I nothing that suggests it’s under control,’ he said.

He vowed to respond to the attackers ‘in kind’ but refused to say exactly what that entailed.

‘I believe that when I learned the extent of the damage and in fact who is formally responsible, they can be assured that we will respond. Probably respond in kind. Many options that I will not discuss now,’ he said. 

SolarWinds have since revealed they have traced the hackers back to October 2019, which is five months before they executed the main breach. The hackers are believed to have tested their ability to insert malicious code into the company’s network management software on October 10, 2019. 

At least 24 organizations across the US installed the software that had been exploited by hackers, a Wall Street Journal analysis of internet records has found. 

Among those infected include: Tech companies Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp and Nvidia Corp; accounting firm Deloitte; software company VMware Inc; electronics maker Belkin International Inc; the California Department of State Hospitals; and Kent State University. 

This is in addition to the government agencies, including the State, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy departments that were revealed last week to have been hacked.  

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