Home / news / Press Releases

Press Releases

Mullin in Washington Examiner: Biden must take a stronger posture against Russia or risk more cyberattacks

After President Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, the Washington Examiner published an op-ed from Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) on the importance of having a strong posture against Russia.

The original article can be found here. Full text of the piece:

On May 25, President Joe Biden announced that he would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of his first foreign trip as president. This was a mistake.

The Berlin Wall may have come down in 1989, but for Russia, the Cold War never really ended. It moved to cyberspace.

Russia remains a top threat to the United States, pursuing aggressive expansion campaigns in Crimea, Georgia, and the Arctic and meddling in military campaigns in Syria and Afghanistan. Its leaders and their agents sow dissent and discord wherever they can in order to further the Russian agenda. Their main methods include widespread disinformation and hacking campaigns as well as promoting economic influence through projects such as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Over the past few months, Russia has been testing our new administration, and unfortunately, Biden has been slow to provide the pushback necessary to stop it. The Biden administration recently waived sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite calling it a “bad project” and acknowledging it threatens European energy security. It has also refused to comment on Russia’s recent troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. As Russia continues to poke at our defenses, protecting our national security must be Biden’s top priority. Rewarding the Russian president with a summit in Geneva does not accomplish this.

On May 6, the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S., became the target of a ransomware attack. The energy company shut down the pipeline and later paid a $4.4 million ransom. The attack is attributed to DarkSide, a hacking group based in Russia. Just a few weeks ago, our country was hit again when the world’s largest meat processing company, Brazilian-based JBS, became the victim of a ransomware attack. The ransomware attack shut down facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. JBS controls nearly a quarter of America’s cattle processing, and the attack could have heavily disrupted the entire industry. Yet again, the attack was attributed to the Russian cybercrime group, REvil.

Russia has a long history of harboring cybercriminals and taking no action to deter this malicious behavior. Putin allows them to operate these organizations and even deposit money into the banking system. The rule that Russia operates under is that as long as criminals are attacking the West, they will be left alone by the Russian government. In many cases, cybercriminals who get caught are given the option to work for Russian intelligence instead of serving jail time. When these criminals are caught and arrested abroad, the Russian government quickly rushes to their defense, as they did in the case of Roman Valerevich Seleznev. Seleznev was arrested by U.S. agents in the Maldives for his role in a $50 million cyberfraud ring and for defrauding banks of $9 million through a hacking scheme. He was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison. Russia heavily criticized the arrest, calling it a “kidnapping.”

According to Accenture, 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. In 2020, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, and the average payout for ransomware is well over $100,000. The U.S. should be taking a strong stance against these cybercriminals and the nation that backs them. We do not pay ransom for hostages, and we should not pay ransom for cyberattacks.

President Donald Trump authorized several operations with U.S. Cyber Command to protect our interests online, and it is time for Biden to do the same. We must have peace through strength, sending a strong message that the internet is not the Wild West and that cyberattacks will not be tolerated.

Each time the leader of the free world meets with Putin, it only legitimizes him and his regime within Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe. We should not be empowering other bad actors to follow Russia’s example. As cyberattacks continue to threaten our economy and our way of life, Biden must take a stronger approach to Russia and stand up for the people.

Stay Connected

Request my newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news from my office

Office Locations

Request a meeting or find out where you can meet our team
  • Washington, DC Office
    2421 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2701 Fax: (202) 225-3038 Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-6:00pm ET
  • McAlester District Office
    1 E. Choctaw, Suite 175 McAlester, OK 74501 Phone: (918) 423-5951 Fax: (918) 423-1940 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT
  • Claremore District Office
    223 W. Patti Page Blvd., Claremore, OK 74017 Phone: (918) 283-6262 Fax: (918) 923-6451 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT
Washington, DC Office
McAlester District Office
Muskogee District Office
Claremore District Office