Trump: US cyber powers 'so obsolete'

Trump: US cyber powers 'so obsolete'
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 U.S. cyber capabilities are “obsolete,” says Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE.

“We’re so obsolete in cyber,” the business mogul told The New York Times in a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy published over the weekend. “We’re the ones that sort of were very much involved with the creation, but we’re so obsolete.”

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Trump’s has mostly stayed away from discussing cybersecurity in depth on the campaign trail, a trait shared by many of his fellow White House hopefuls.

But when pressed on the issue in his interview with the Times, Trump explained that he thought the U.S. lagged behind allies and adversaries alike when it came to cybersecurity expertise.

“We move forward with cyber, but other countries are moving forward at a much more rapid pace,” he said. “We are frankly not being led very well in terms of the protection of this country.”

Trump’s views don’t necessarily align with those of cybersecurity experts, who frequently rank the U.S. as a leading digital power globally.

The Pentagon is also in the process of rapidly expanding its cyber team, filling out an anticipated 133 units — roughly 6,200 workers — by the 2018 fiscal year.

Trump alluded to a number of hacks on the U.S. that experts and government officials have blamed on digital adversaries such as China and Russia.

“We just seem to be toyed with by so many different countries, already,” he said. “And we don’t know who’s doing what. We don’t know who’s got the power, who’s got that capability, some people say it’s China, some people say it’s Russia.”

In a November policy paper on U.S.-China trade relations, Trump vowed to enforce a “zero tolerance policy” for China’s digital theft of U.S. corporate secrets. The pledge came several months after President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping struck a deal to eradicate that type of corporate hacking, although there has been no way to show whether China is complying.

Trump argued, “Certainly cyber has to be in our thought process, very strongly in our thought process.”

“You can make countries nonfunctioning with a strong use of cyber,” he added.

But the former reality TV star cautioned, “I don’t think we’re there.”