Tags: naval chief | john richardson | evidence | cyberattack | USS John McCain | collision

Naval Chief: No Evidence Cyberattack Behind USS McCain Collision

CNN's "New Day"/Twitter

By    |   Friday, 25 August 2017 11:02 AM

There is no evidence at this time to prove a cyber intrusion or cyberattack was behind the collision of the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker near Singapore, Adm. John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations for the U.S. Navy, said Friday.

"I do want to make clear in this digital world that we live in right now, this will be a more routine part of investigations going forward," Richardson told CNN "New Day" co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. "We're going to have to, as a matter of course, investigate the digital and the cyber aspects of these problems, so you can probably see this becoming a more routine part of all future investigations."

Earlier this week, red flags were raised that the Pacific collision of the McCain, the fourth involving a Seventh Fleet warship this year, could have been caused by a cyberattack on the Navy's electronic guidance systems. 

Jeff Stutzman, an ex-information warfare specialist in the Navy who works at Wapack Labs, told McClatchy that there had to be "something more than just human error going on."

At that point, Richardson did not rule out a cyberattack in the collision, which resulted in 10 American sailors going missing.

On Friday, a second victim of the collision was identified. The 7th Fleet said Navy and Marine Corps divers recovered and identified remains of 26-year-old Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, from Suffield, Connecticut, Thursday night. Divers had earlier recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Camerota asked if maintenance issues could have led to the crash, pointing to a recent report noting maintenance on the Navy's ship has fallen behind.

"You can see there's a lot of concern around the nation and the Navy, a lot of people with knowledge of how the Navy operates," said Richardson. "They're concerned and they want to get to the bottom of it. But it would be just too early to speculate on those types of factors until we see the full body of evidence."

The Navy, he added, continues to "maintain ships to standards."

"That is what we expect our commanders to do," Richardson said. "We hold them accountable to do that. We'll take a look at the specifics of that standard as it applies to these accidents."

President Donald Trump has tweeted twice about the tragedy, and Richardson said he has been "very clear about how he feels about the loss of these shipmates."

The president also supports the missing sailors' families, said Richardson, and believes "we need to do everything we can to support them."

Richardson told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" that the search operation has moved into a recovery operations, and the Navy's emphasis is on the work to recover the shipmates.

The Navy announced Wednesday that it has fired Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin as commander of the 7th Fleet, of which both the McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, another ship involved in a recent deadly crash, was relieved of his command "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command."

Richardson said the decision was made after careful consideration, but that the Navy is a "business of stark and harsh accountability."

"We hold our commanders with very high standards to deploy safe and effective forces," said Richardson. "When they have problems, we take firm corrective action. Admiral [Scott] Swift lost confidence in Admiral Aucoin's ability to do that and I support that decision."

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There is no evidence at this time to prove a cyber intrusion or cyberattack was behind the collision of the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker near Singapore, Adm. John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations for the U.S. Navy, said Friday.
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2017-02-25
Friday, 25 August 2017 11:02 AM
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