Russian President Vladimir Putin is "absolutely" testing President Joe Biden through the ransomware attacks that have hit first the Colonial Pipeline and now JBS, the second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S., Rep. Michael McCaul said Wednesday.
"You cannot somehow dissect Vladimir Putin from the criminal organizations of Russia that carry out these ransomware attacks," the Texas Republican said on Fox News' "America's Report." "It is all interrelated with Russia. Perhaps [they] didn't get direct approval, but certainly approval."
It is also a "very naive perspective of how Russia operates and who Putin really is" to say that the Russian president is unaware of the cyber attacks and does not benefit from them, and Biden must be "very forceful with him," McCaul said.
"This will be the third ransomware attack in the last couple of weeks," he said, adding that "consequences" must come as a result.
Biden will meet with Putin on June 16, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked if the topic of the attacks will come up, responded that "we will not take options off the table."
"I think the president should be very clear to Putin if these [attacks] continue, once we do the attributes, which means finding out the source of the attack, that we will hit back and we will respond with a cyber offensive attack," McCaul said. "That, we are very capable of doing as a nation. Only until we have that threat to Putin and the Russian criminal organization will this bad behavior stop. Otherwise, it will continue."
McCaul also discussed the decision of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a disaster at the nation's southern border, saying the situation is the worst there that he's ever seen.
"It is absolutely out of control," he said. "My governor has declared it a disaster, which would be helpful. ... It is a crisis of proportions I have not seen, I think, in my entire professional career."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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