NSA chief on Russia-U.S. cyber unit: Now is 'not the best time'



WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers on Saturday rebuffed the prospect for a U.S.-Russia cyber unit, a proposal which has been greeted with incredulity by several senior U.S. lawmakers and which President Donald Trump himself appeared to back down from after initially indicating interest.

U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by hacking Democrats' emails and distributing online propaganda to help Trump win the election over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Moscow has denied any interference, and Trump has said that his campaign did not collude with Russia.

A Russian presidential envoy said this week that Moscow and Washington were in talks to create a joint cyber security working group.

Asked whether it was a good idea to set up a cyber security cell with the Russians, Rogers told the annual Aspen Security Forum: "I'm not a policy guy here. .... I would argue now is probably not the best time to be doing this."

15 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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Trump said earlier this month that he had discussed the idea of creating such a group with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

Senior Republicans criticized the idea, saying Moscow could not be trusted, and Trump later appeared to back away, saying in a post on Twitter: "The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't."

Widespread concern and confusion about the possible cyber working group reflects the Trump administration's struggles to articulate a clear approach to international cyber security issues amid inconsistent statements by the president and ongoing personnel changes.

Rogers said such a unit was "something that you might want to build over time were we to see changes in (Russia's) behavior." (Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Trump tweets about Russia meddling in 2016 election
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Trump tweets about Russia meddling in 2016 election
Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!
Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?
Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!
Obama Administration official said they "choked" when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn't want to hurt Hillary?
Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?
Democrats slam GOP healthcare proposal as Obamacare premiums & deductibles increase by over 100%. Remember keep your doctor, keep your plan?
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