Trump, Clinton Debate Responsibility of Russia for Hacks

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By Daniel R. Stoller

Oct. 20 — Whether Russia is to blame for hacks that disclosed political e-mails caused some stir between Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald J. Trump (R) at the last debate before the presidential election.

Cybersecurity made a brief appearance on the Las Vegas debate stage Oct. 19. But, cybersecurity and pointing the finger at nation-states for hacking attacks may not push voters to support either candidate. The increased discussion on the debate stage, however, may help influence national discussion and policy on cybersecurity issues, privacy and cybersecurity pros previously told Bloomberg BNA.

Clinton went as far to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order himself “to influence our election.”


In past debates, Trump has been hesitant to blame Russia or any other nation-state for cyberattacks against the U.S. However, he may have changed his stance on who is responsible for state-sponsored hacking incidents. When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, Trump finally condemned “Russia or anybody else” for hacking attacks that may influence the U.S. election.

Trump has expanded and evolved his cybersecurity stances throughout the election season. Trump recently released his cybersecurity platform to help clarify polices and positions raised in the debates.

Trump Cybersecurity Platform

Trump focused his cybersecurity platform around national security issues but expanded his platform with specific policy plans. For example, Trump's platform said that the U.S. should “develop the offensive cyber capabilities we need to deter attacks by both state and non-state actors and, if necessary, to respond appropriately.”

Trump did deviate from the national security-only stance and raised cybersecurity policy points in the platform.

Trump's plan calls for an “immediate review of all U.S. cyber defenses” by a “Cyber Review Team” made up of stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The team would be tasked with providing policy and technological recommendations to help combat “likely threats,” the platform, posted on Trump's campaign website, said. The cybersecurity team will also be tasked with establishing “protocols and mandatory cyber awareness training for all government employees,” it said.

Trump's cybersecurity platform is similar to Clinton's plan. In June, Clinton released a fact sheet pledging to promote cybersecurity, safeguard cross-border data flows while protecting privacy, strengthen federal networks to improve the U.S. government's cybersecurity and build on President Barack Obama's $19 billion Cybersecurity National Action Plan.

Representatives from the Clinton and Trump campaigns didn't immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA's e-mail and phone call requests for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald G. Aplin at

For More Information

Text of Trump's cybersecurity platform is available at

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