Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, on Tuesday cut short a European trip in order to return to Washington to coordinate the government response to a suspected Russian cyberattack on multiple federal agencies, an administration official said, according to Politico.
O’Brien flew back to Washington on Tuesday from Paris, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, to address the attack, which targeted the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Defense.
He will hold National Security Council meetings with his cybersecurity team in the coming days, as well as a likely NSC principals committee meeting in the next few days. The NSC had an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the attack.
O’Brien was originally scheduled to be in Europe until Saturday, but he decided to return early given the scale of the breach, the official said. He’s skipping meetings with UK government officials in London as well as a swing through Rome.
He met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday in Israel and also spoke in-person at the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development convention, even though the event was mostly virtual.
On Sunday, it was reported that a group of hackers backed by a “foreign government” stole information from the US Treasury Department and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
On Monday it was revealed that the attack also targeted the US Department of Homeland Security.
The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Russian government hackers are responsible for the breach.
The same hackers earlier breached a top cybersecurity firm, said the sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.