Press Secretary Jen Psaki on cyberattacks, Afghanistan drawdown, and the situation in Haiti.
1. The White House is Still Looking Into Russian Cyberattack
Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed during the briefing that the White House is still looking into the Cozy Bear cyberattacks which occurred last week. Psaki emphasized that the attacks are happening worldwide in a number of different countries and the global investigations conducted in order to locate the origin.
Psaki also states that the attacks have been escalating and predate President Biden and even former President Trump. “We know it is not going to be turned off with a light switch,” she said, “We know it needs to be an ongoing engagement.”
When asked when and if the President will discuss the cyberattacks with President Putin, Psaki said there is a possibility the President will reach out and draw a red line if the attacks become more prominent.
The two spoke about the Russian hacker problem during their summit last month, but the problem is still ongoing as Russian intelligence agencies such as Cozy Bear continue to attack and ransom the US and other nations’ data.
When asked if there was a timeline or a deadline POTUS would set for the Russian government to clear things up regarding the ransomware, Psaki said she would not go into that.
2. The Afghanistan drawdown
Psaki was asked many questions about what the President will do to promote the security of the Afghan people as the power of the Taliban continues to rise following the departure of the U.S. troops.
Psaki stated they are working closely with Congress and Border Control in order to admit many Afghan refugees and nationals into the country to seek safety and speed up the process to approve visas.
When asked, on multiple occasions, if Biden saw the war with Afghanistan “worth it,” Psaki emphasized the President has been on board with ending the war and removing American troops for the past 10 years. The remarks he will deliver today will revolve around ending our involvement in the war and the reason behind it.
Psaki said the President does not see a feasible victory for the US and refuses to deploy a new generation of Americans into a war that cannot be won militarily. Psaki states “we did what we wanted to do” in regards to our goals towards Afghanistan, which include targeting the 9/11 attackers, delivering justice towards Osama bin Laden, and reducing Taliban threats towards the US. After achieving all these goals, the President decided continuing US involvement in Afghanistan was obsolete.
3. The US Will Support the Haitian Election and Haitian People
Asked what the US government is doing to stand up and promote the Haitian democracy, Psaki stated they will continue to call for elections to happen this year which will lead to a peaceful transition of power following the assassination of the Haitian president.
The US has not received an official request for assistance from Haiti, but Psaki said they will do everything in their power to help the Haitian government and people in promoting their free and fair democracy.