National Security Advisor John Bolton defended the president’s all-caps threat to Iran.
“I spoke to the President over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before,” Bolton wrote in a statement.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 23, 2018
Last week, NBC News reported that Iran has “laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyber attacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies.”
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 20, 2018
The warning was issued by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday during the 2018 Aspen Security Forum. Iran was one of several nations, which included North Korea, China, and of course, Russia. Coats said Russia was “by far” the biggest threat, though he conceded Iran has ramped up its capability of striking American infrastructure.
U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told NBC: “Iran is making preparations that would enable denial-of-service attacks against thousands of electric grids, water plants, and health care and technology companies in the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and other countries in Europe and the Middle East.”
Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesperson for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, said the United States is the real aggressor in cyber warfare around the globe.
“Iran has no intention of engaging in any kind of cyber war with the U.S.,” Miryousefi said in a statement. “Frankly, from our perspective, it’s more likely the U.S. wants the supposed suspicion of an attack as rationalization for a cyber attack against Iran.”
“The U.S. is the most belligerent cyber attacker of any nation in the world, repeatedly attacking military and civilian targets across the world including in Iran,” he added. “The U.S. has also undermined international efforts to establish global rules surrounding cyber issues. While we cannot comment on specific cyber capabilities or operational detail, we can say that our cyber activities are defensive in nature and necessary for our country’s protection.”
The National Security Council did not comment.