Transcript for NSA chief: Trump has not given increased authority to take on Russians in cyberspace
Next this evening, to the head of the NSA, a key member of president trump's national security team, tonight saying he has not received orders from president trump to disrupt Russian cyber attacks targeting future U.S. Elections. And this evening, some lawmakers are now outraged by this. ABC's chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl asking why hasn't admiral Mike Rogers been told to do more? Reporter: On capitol hill today, a senator confronted one of America's top intelligence officials with a question she recently received from a woman in a grocery store. Can Russia be stopped from meddling in our elections? Are we strong enough and smart enough that we can keep them from doing this again? Yes. The next question she asked me, "Are we doing that right now?" We're taking steps, but we're probably not doing enough. Okay, so, she wants to know, and I want to know, why the hell not? Reporter: Admiral Mike Rogers, who runs both the national security agency and the military's cyber command, says part of the answer is that Russia simply hasn't been punished enough for interfering with the last election. They haven't paid a price, at least that is sufficient to get them to change their behavior. Reporter: And Rogers offered another reason. He said the trump administration has not given him increased authority to take on the Russians in cyberspace. No one from the administration has asked you to take any additional steps, is that correct? I haven't been granted any, you know, additional authorities, capacity and capability, and -- no, that's certainly true. Reporter: Why not? We put that question to the white house. Why not give him the authority? Nobody is denying him the authority. We're looking at a number of different ways that we can put pressure. Let's not forget, this happened under Obama, not under president trump. If you want to blame someone on past problems, you need to look at the Obama administration. Reporter: This is not about the past. It's about protecting intrusion in the next election. Exactly. Reporter: He said he needs authority and hasn't been given it. He says he can't act without the authority. I can't speak to that, specifically. All right, so, let's get to Jon Karl at the white house tonight. Admiral Mike Rogers in the briefing room, he's made a point of highlights that Russia has not been punished enough to convince them to stop meddling. Even he says they haven't been punished enough. Reporter: In fact, he said the intelligence community had not anticipate what he called the sustained aggression that they have seen from the Russians on this. Aggression that continues now, even just months before the midterm elections. As you know, congress overwhelmingly passed sanctions on Russia last summer. The sanctions have not been implemented fully by the administration, though the treasury secretary has said that they will be coming soon.
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