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Former DHS Secretary: Biden's list of 16 off-limits sectors to Putin 'sends the exact wrong message'

"All networks within the United States ... should be immune to this, and should not be targeted and attacked," said Chad Wolf.

Updated: June 17, 2021 - 11:03pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

President Biden giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors that are off-limits to cyber attacks "sends the exact wrong message," says Chad Wolf, former acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President Trump.

"Cyber attacks we've seen increase pretty regularly over the last several years," Wolf told the John Solomon Reports podcast Thursday. "It's really the next battlefield that we see out there where countries can't compete with the United States, military to military, but what they can do is go after — from a cyber perspective — go after some of our critical infrastructure."

During his meeting in Geneva, Switzerland with Putin, Biden gave him a list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that are off-limits to cyberattacks, Fox Business reported. This followed two recent cyberattacks on the American meat and oil industries.

Wolf explained what he believes Biden was trying to do.

"What I assume he is talking about, but he's not articulate, is there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors that we identified — that the department identified," he said. But "instead of saying 16 — no one really knows what that is outside of a few people that really follow this stuff — he should have just said, 'all critical infrastructure.'

"In fact, everything — you know, all networks within the United States should be immune to this, and should not be targeted and attacked. For him to somehow parse this out, I think, sends the exact wrong message. My guess is he was trying to be articulate, was trying to show people that he knew what he was talking about, but again, it came off in a way that actually had the opposite effect."