U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, taking the offensive on questions of Russian hacking that have dogged him since winning the White House in November, has vowed to take aggressive action to stop cyberattacks.
After a briefing on January 6 from U.S. intelligence officials on their conclusion that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election, Trump said he has asked his staff to develop a plan in the first 90 days after he takes office on January 20 to "aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks."
But he said that security "methods, tools, and tactics" should "not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm."
Trump added that other levels of "government, organizations, associations, or businesses" also need to strengthen efforts to protect themselves against hacking.
Trump acknowledged in a statement that "Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people" are consistently trying to hack U.S. networks, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC). But he did not mention evidence of Russian interference in the election.
The White House released a declassified intelligence report on January 6 that found Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cybercampaign to influence the U.S. election with the goal of getting Trump elected.
Trump blamed the Democratic Party for lax cybersecurity that led to the hacking of the DNC.
"Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense!" he wrote on Twitter.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence repeated that Trump's aim is to put a stop to cyberattacks.
"The president-elect has made it very clear that we are going to take aggressive action in the early days of our administration to combat cyberattacks and protect the American people from this type of intrusion in the future," Pence said.
Even before seeing the classified intelligence report on January 6, Trump dismissed the assessment and told The New York Times the focus on Russia's involvement is a "political witch hunt" by adversaries who are embarrassed they lost the election.
"They got beaten very badly in the election," Trump said.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa