Americas

Venezuela resumes direct oil exports to China, despite US sanctions
Americas

Venezuela resumes direct oil exports to China, despite US sanctions

Venezuela resumes direct oil exports: According to Refinitiv Eikon vessel-tracking data and internal documents from Venezuela’s state-owned company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), latter resumed oil exports to China, despite US sanctions. In an exclusive report carried out by the Reuters, showed that due to the US sanctions imposed in August 2019 ‘Chinese state companies, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and its listed subsidiary PetroChina – long among PDVSA’s top customers – stopped importing crude and fuel directly from Venezuelan ports’. 

The loading point of Venezuelan oil was now changed to Malaysia, where transfers of cargoes between vessels at sea was allowed. It implied that in order to escape the sanctions, Venezuela opted for a slightly extensive transfer involving a few vessels, loading-unloading and changing of hands, which aided the South America country to continue exporting its crude to China, by using trade intermediaries.

US outgoing president Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela in order to build enough pressure to oust Nicolas Maduro from the country. In an appalling twist, the pressure built-up went in vain as Maduro won and got re-elected as the country’s president serving his second term. Many world leaders, including the country’s opposition leaders, called the elections grossly undemocratic. Many fear that Maduro’s landslide victory in the recent presidential elections would cripple the country’s economic system, political setup and pave way for his transformation from a latent autocrat into a full-blown despot.

Despite the election win, US, Panama, Canada and Germany did not acknowledge Maduro as the country’s head, and called out against his the undemocratic ways to attaining power. Despite Maduro’s illegal accusation of power, its closer ties with Iran and China worried US the most. 

Over the recent trade between the two nations, the US Treasury Department spokesperson said on Nov. 25 that “those engaged in activity in the Venezuelan oil sector risk exposure to sanctions.”

The shipping monitoring service TankerTrackers.com revealed that the first tanker to export oil to China was Kyoto, which carried 1.8 million barrels of heavy crude from Venezuela’s Jose port in late August. The other carrier spotted unloading Venezuelan crude at China’s Bayuquan port, was the Warrior King. Refinitiv Eikon and Equasis data revealed that the other two tankers, owned by CNPC units, loaded oil in Venezuela in November. The report also unveiled that some of the vessels involved oil trade between the two nations were owned by Russian-registered companies with no known prior oil trading experience.

Reuters said, “The resumption of direct imports by China comes after Washington earlier this year took action against units of Russia’s Rosneft and later went after shipping firms that continued to do business with PDVSA following trade sanctions first imposed in early 2019.”

It is not the first time Venezuela has been spotted violating US sanctions. Rather in September the country was caught conducting oil trade with Iran, as three vessels carrying thousands of barrels of fuel were seen sent off to Venezuela. Tehran’s semi-official news agency, Mehr news reported that General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “We gave Venezuela gasoline and received gold bars, and we took the gold to Iran on a plane so that nothing could happen to it along the way”.

The U.S. Will Not Grant Visas to Chinese Officials
Americas

The U.S. Will Not Grant Visas to Chinese Officials

Will not Grant Visas: The United States announced Monday it does not grant visas to enter its territory to all Chinese officials suspected of committing human rights violations. In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new measures include all Chinese Communist Party officials involved in similar repressive activities, wherever they commit it against journalists, trade unionists and civil society activists, or peaceful protesters.

The decision is Washington’s latest move against Beijing. In recent days, news has come of the publication of a list containing the names of nearly two million members of the Communist Party. The database, which “Chinese dissidents” allegedly extracted from a Shanghai server last September, was handed over to four media organizations: The Australian, The Sunday Mail, De Standaard, and a Swedish publisher, who analysed its contents for nearly two months. 

The database shows that sections of the Chinese Communist Party “have been set up within large Western companies, allowing CCP members to infiltrate those companies.” Large companies whose names appear on the list include aerospace giant Boeing, banking group HSBC, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, which have worked on developing the Covid vaccine. The Global Times calls the link between CCP membership to intelligence work and security risks to host countries ridiculous.

Among the crimes the Chinese are accused of, those against the Uighurs. According to a study by the Center for Global Policy published by the BBC, more than half a million Uighurs have been co-opted into the cotton industry of Xinjiang, the region where 20% of the world’s cotton fibre and 85% of Chinese production comes from. After Huawei, Alibaba’s technology is also linked to a Uyghur facial recognition system. Speaking of Xinjiang, one of Beijing’s main accusers of the repression of Uyghurs is Adrian Zenz.

During the summer of 2016, Adrian Zenz focused his research on Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities, just before the vast region plunged into terror. In 2017, the Uyghur diaspora claimed that a massive lockdown campaign began. Beijing denies. Censorship preventing any work in the field, the researcher plunges into the depths of the Chinese Web. “Working on primary Chinese sources is very difficult, but they are less open to attack than testimonies,” explains Mathieu Duchâtel, sinologist at the Institut Montaigne. With the help of calls for tenders issued for the construction of the camps, spotted in a sea of information, he put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Big relief for US as Hill approves long awaited Covid-19 relief aid
Americas

Big relief for US as Hill approves long awaited Covid-19 relief aid

Covid-19 relief aidMonths after squabbling and bickering, the Congressional leaders have agreed upon a pandemic aid package of approximately $900bn. This will include fund for businesses and programmes related to support unemployed. 

The announcement was made on Sunday night that the leaders have reached an estimated billion package that will deliver the much needed support to small businesses, unemployed people and health care workers as country also reinforces the vaccination drive. The package will also support a spending bill of $1.4tn that will fund various federal operations over the period of following nine months. 

The decision offers a big relief as multiple COVID relief programmes were nearing expiry by month end, risking 12 million Americans losing the unemployment benefits.  

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced that both chambers have finalized an agreement on aid. He said, “It is packed with targeted policies that help struggling Americans who have already waited entirely too long.”

The ongoing disputes over policies between Republicans and Democrats bolstered doubts of whether a decision would be reached on a deal before the lawmakers embark on holidays and soon end of 116th Congress. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement, “We are going to crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.”

President Donald Trump signed the bill shortly before midnight, thereby buying Congress 24 hours before the deadline. 

On Monday, the House is set to vote for final relief package for Covid-19, along with next fiscal year’s omnibus spending bill of $1.4 trillion. 

The details on distribution of aid are yet to be formally released, but the release from Senate Democratic leaders and House on Sunday evening reveals the probable distribution:

Direct payment checks per adult and child of up to $600

Aid support for struggling small businesses. This includes $284 billion for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans and $15 billion “in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions”

Enhanced unemployment insurance benefits – $300 per week

Rental assistance and eviction moratorium extension – $25 billion

Education providers, like schools, including aid to reopen classrooms safely – $82 billion

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and child nutrition – $13 billion 

The bill, however, doesn’t include aid to local governments. This has been a top priority for Democrats. Schumer noted that the aid does offer support to local governments indirectly, inform of Covid-19 testing and aid to schools. 

Schumer stressed that this package will “establish a floor, not a ceiling, for coronavirus relief in 2021.” He affirmed that as President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, the Democrats would push for more package. 

Moderna: second covid vaccine to gain US authorisation
Americas

Moderna: second covid vaccine to gain US authorisation

Second covid vaccine: On Friday, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided authorisation for the emergency use of the covid vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. The pharmaceutical company said that the vaccine doses would be available for use by Monday. As soon as the drug company received approval, US President Donald Trump tweeted, “Congratulations, the Moderna vaccine is now available!”

Post the discussion over the vaccine, “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Stephen Hahn said: “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of Covid-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic.”

Immunologist James Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, during the panel discussion over the vaccine on Thursday said, “To go from having a sequence of a virus in January to having two vaccines available in December is a remarkable achievement.”

The US is the first nation to provide approval to Moderna, which is the second vaccine to be supplied in the country after the first, developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine has a success rate, in case of latter it is 94% and is relatively cheaper to transport to different locations as it doesn’t require ultra-freezing temperature for storage as Pfizer, which requires to be kept at −70 °C, where as former can be stored in a −20 °C freezer for 6 months, and in a refrigerator (at about 4 °C) for 30 days. 

Moderna can be taken by anyone 18 years old or above, where as Pfizer said that its dosage can be taken by even 16 year olds. Commending the quick development of both the vaccine, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that two work “better than we almost dared to hope, science is working here, science has done something amazing.”

The two were developed in a record time of within a year. Collins assured people that the speed of the vaccine development should not be a point of concern for people as he stressed that the early outcome was  result of billions of dollars of investment doled into i

company along with government investments and years of earlier scientific research. Collins said,“The rigour of the analysis of these vaccines is unprecedented. We’re not done with this but hope is on the way, and the hope comes from this scientific brain trust that has pulled out all the stops.”

FDA has issued few directions for the vaccine shots including: both the vaccine require two dose shots with second to be taken after several weeks and from the same company as the first one.

Both the vaccines provide a slight ray of hope to the nation, a week before Christmas. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 312,000 lives in US alone and about 1.7 million lives worldwide. The current average of number of new cases in the US is over 216,000 per day.

USA -Venezuela, what changes with Joe Biden
Americas

USA -Venezuela, what changes with Joe Biden

USA -Venezuela: Venezuelan opposition leaders and the governments supporting them have just seen their strategy to remove President Nicolas Maduro’s tyrannic regime culminating in a failure. On Sunday, in farcical elections for a new term, Maduro supporters took control of the opposition’s last remaining bastion, the National Assembly. But on the other hand, opposition leaders have been denouncing for months how the Venezuelan leader was obstructing the main opposition parties in all ways, both lawful and unlawful, by completely emptying the very meaning of the elections. That not surprisingly had a record of abstention. The parliament served as a spearhead for a coordinated international campaign to remove Maduro, promoted by the Trump administration and supported by European and Latin American democracies, seen in the president of assembly Juan Guadiò. Their champion to restore a modicum of democracy in Venezuela.

That plan, launched two years ago, sought to capitalize on the opposition’s hold on the National Assembly Opposition politicians had won the overwhelming majority during the last legislative elections, in 2015. That proved to be Venezuela’s latest credible polls. Although the regime later stripped the National Assembly of all its powers, the opposition still enjoyed the legitimacy of a duly elected government institution, albeit apparently without practical authority, and found a way to leverage it.

Maduro continued to dominate even though almost all Western countries disowned him as interlocutor and chosen the Legislative Assembly leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate president. After Maduro proclaimed himself the winner of a fraudulent election in 2018, the National Assembly declared the presidency vacant. And following the constitutional guidelines, appointed the head of the legislature, Juan Guaido, the legitimate interim president until fair elections.

Fifty countries soon recognized Guaido as the legitimate head of state of Venezuela. The United States waged a new “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime, including tightening sanctions, but a planned military uprising to oust Maduro did not materialize. Once again, the military power of a South American country remained faithful to the pre-established order. Perhaps because of not having too much faith in the new leader. Also, because of the direct involvement of the US. That is why the opposition forces, despite the words of circumstance, were hoping for a reappointment of Trump. It is not a mystery that Maduro was rooting for a victory for the Democrat Biden.

Trump has been a strong ally of the opposition to the Venezuelan leader. He has shown that he is determined not to back down on demand to kick Maduro out of power. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA – the country’s economic lifeline – was also hit by US sanctions, increasing the number of Venezuelan people suffering. Biden expressed his desire to resume diplomacy with OPEC members Venezuela and Iran. That could lead to the return of their oil exports if certain conditions occur, according to Reuters.

“We are not trying to dismantle the sanctioning policy, but to enforce sanctions intelligently, aided by a multilateral effort and with specific objectives to achieve mainly free, fair, and credible elections.” Leopoldo Martinez, Biden’s campaign strategist, told Reuters in late November. The strategy managed to strengthen President Donald Trump’s good faith among large segments of Latin voters in the United States, a significant contributor to Trump’s comfortable election victory in Florida in November. It also helped galvanize support for the Venezuelan opposition among European democracies. But in its most important goal, carving a path towards a return to democracy, the strategy has made no progress.

For Juan S. Gonzalez, former US Deputy Secretary of State and former Special Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, the elected president will stand with the Venezuelan people and democracy. In organizing a cohesive international response to the humanitarian crisis, targeting regime supporters involved in corruption and human rights violations wherever they go. Recovering assets stolen by the Venezuelan people, driving international pressure for free and fair elections. “Joe Biden is someone who advocates the use of multilateral sanctions to force the Maduro regime to restore democratic freedoms in Venezuela.” Juan S. Gonzalez said.

But for many Americans, this plan won’t work. “Yet, none of these outcomes will be achieved if Biden simply lifts economic sanctions,” Ryan Berg and José I. Hernández write today on CNN. They suggest to develop a “different sanctions strategy”: supporting effective humanitarian exemptions and using US diplomatic means to stop Maduro’s rapaciousness. That would strengthen the possibility of a democratic endgame over a bold diplomatic strategy, a better collection of options to discuss the complicated change to democracy in the South American country. The nature of Venezuela’s emergency needs US resolution and thinking outside the box.

AMLO’s new security law restricts foreign law enforcement activities in Mexico: a dire situation for DEA
Americas

AMLO’s new security law restricts foreign law enforcement activities in Mexico: a dire situation for DEA

AMLO’s new security law: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico, more commonly known as AMLO, hurriedly and quite suddenly had sent a bill to Congress in early December targeting the activities of foreign law enforcements in the country. The bill was passed into law by Mexico’s Congress on Tuesday. 

The newly enforced national security law will limit operational freedom of foreign enforcement agencies and officers. The experts criticize this move arguing that it can hamper the intelligence sources and also pose a big threat to the future of international anti-narcotics operations. 

The law, though doesn’t specifically target a particular country, but the most impacted in a disastrous manner would be US agencies like DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), which has strong hold and presence in Mexico. The law will strip the foreign law and intelligence agents of diplomatic immunity along with requirement of sharing intelligence data with the Mexican officials. 

Mike Vigil, former DEA chief of international operations, said, “You’re going to see a situation where the efforts of US agencies, especially with the DEA, are significantly going to be diminished. They want to relegate the agencies like DEA to doing nothing more than staying in the office and just passing information.” 

DEA has been working with Mexican authorities over past years, creating intelligence for the “war on drugs”. But these US operations in the neighboring country has received backlash – military crackdown in Mexico has led to over 200,000 lives lost and 70,000 missing. 

AMLO pressured the bill in congress over complains regarding DEA’s operations in Mexico. The law, coincidently, also follows detention of Mexico’s former defense secretary Gen Salvador Cienfuegos, who was detained in Los Angeles in November over drug charges. Although, no case or investigation was ongoing against him in Mexico. Experts analyze that AMLO’s eagerness to push the law was also to secure release of Cienfuegos. This is largely due to increasing dependency of president on military for all operations in the country – security, construction, running of seaports. 

On the law AMLO said, “During other governments, they came into Mexico as if they owned the place. They didn’t just carry out intelligence operations, they went after targets. Mexican security forces launched the operations, but the decisions were made by these foreign agencies. That no longer happens.” 

William Barr, US attorney general said, “The law can only benefit the violent transnational criminal organisations and other criminals that we are jointly fighting.” 

As the new law would require foreign law enforcements to share any and all intelligence information with the Mexica authorities, fear looms that it may tip off the criminals and corrupt officials. But AMLO maintains that country’s armed forces and security and citizen protection secretariat are not infiltrated any more by organized crime. US officials just mock at this claim. Vigil says, “The big worry for US agencies is that it will compromise agents, it will compromise informants and it will compromise operations and investigations if that happens.”

Brazil and Mexico finally recognise Biden as US President
Americas

Brazil and Mexico finally recognise Biden as US President

Brazil and Mexico: After weeks of waiting for legal challenges to clear up against US presidential election results, Brazilian and Mexican presidents finally acknowledged Joe Biden’s as the US next president. On Tuesday afternoon, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro shared a messaged on Twitter, saying, “Greetings to President Joe Biden with my best wishes and the hope that the US continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. I will be ready to work with the new government.” 

Rubens Ricupero, Brazil’s former ambassador to the US expressed shock towards Bolsonaro’s delay. “It’s a lunatic reaction that is utterly lacking in any kind of diplomatic logic … Any diplomat with their head screwed on knows this is madness,” Ricupero said.

Even Brazilian vice-president, Hamilton Mourão, failed to reason the delay in Brazilian leader’s recognition of Biden’s win and when asked about the Bolsonaro’s intention behind the move, said: “I don’t know.”

Besides Bolsonaro, Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also extended equally cold greetings to Biden. In his two-page letter addressed to the US democrat leader, AMLO along with recognising Biden’s presidency, also wrapped in a subtle warning to the new state head to implement the policy of non-interference in foreign affairs. His letter read: “We have the certainty with you in the [US] presidency it will be possible to continue applying the basic principles of foreign policy established in our constitution; especially that of non-intervention.”

AMLO’s letter to Biden was a stark contrast to the one written to Donald Trump. One of its contrasting feature was its length as the Mexican leader send a seven-page message to Trump, after he himself came to power in 2018. AMLO justified delay in congratulating Biden by emphasising that it was Mexico’s policy of non-intervention in foreign affairs. He said, “With regard to the US election, we are going to wait until all the legal matters have been resolved. I can’t congratulate one candidate or the other. I want to wait until the electoral process is over.”

But this might not be the case as he seemed to be indirectly rooting for Trump as he equated, what Trump called election fraud, with the allegations of fraud he faced in two presidential elections Mexican leader contested, in 2006 and 2012, before winning the third one in 2018.

Slamming AMLO’s move, Gabriel Guerra Castellanos, a former Mexican diplomat, tweeted, “Having read AMLO’s congratulatory letter to Biden, I can only say it would have been better if he had not congratulated him. If someone from this side of the border doesn’t intervene, we will have four icy years in the US-Mexico relationship.”

Brazil and Mexico’s congratulatory acknowledgement was both delayed and rude, which could impact the US ties with Brazil and Mexico for the next four years.

Democracy prevails as Electoral College confirms Joe Biden’s Presidential victory
Americas

Democracy prevails as Electoral College confirms Joe Biden’s Presidential victory

Electoral College: Joe Biden is now formally elected as the 46th President of the United States of America by Electoral College on Monday. This puts a long-awaited stop on never-ending Donald Trump’s bid to subvert millions of mail-in ballots and overturn the results of elections that had established clear win for Democratic nominee Joe Biden with 306 votes. As California state’s 55 electoral votes went in for Biden, he crossed the required 270 electoral votes with a clear margin. 

On Monday night, President-elect Joe Biden addressed electoral college votes in his speech to the US. Mr. Biden said, “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed. We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”

President-elect Joe Biden said speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, said, “Together, Vice President-elect Harris and I earned 306 electoral votes.”

It is to be noted that in 2016, Donald Trump too had won with a similar margin, which he had called a “landslide”. 

The electoral college meeting and final stamping of Biden’s win holds specific importance this year as this highlights the win of democracy and overtaking of Trump’s sustained efforts to undermine election results held democratically. 

With escalating threats and protests outside statehouses where presidential electors had gathered, there were extra security protocols and measures taken. In Michigan, Capitol building was closed to public as electors voted on Monday evening after violence threats. Arizona electors had met at an “undisclosed location” due to credible threats issued there. 

The process went smoothly as electors from 50 states and Washington DC cast their votes. This was concluded with Hawaii casting final ballots at 7pm ET, thereby confirming total of 306 votes for Joe Biden. 

Electoral college votes are cast in State Capitols and Washington DC by paper ballots. The electors are elected officials, politicians or party officials. In New York, the electors were Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. 

In his speech Joe Biden said that “will of the people had prevailed.” Biden also thanked few Republican senators who accepted the electoral college votes as opposed to others who are supporting Trump in his baseless claims of rigged election. 

As US gears up for vaccination commencing Monday, Trump withholds plans of early vaccination drive in White House
Americas

As US gears up for vaccination commencing Monday, Trump withholds plans of early vaccination drive in White House

Early vaccination drive in White House: An initial plan of inoculating White House officials in an early drive has been suspended by President Donald Trump. The Sunday news that White House staff would be among the priority groups to receive Covid-19 vaccine in vaccination campaign starting Monday across the US, had attracted criticism on social media. Officials had said that senior Trump administration members would be among the first to receive the FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. 

President Trump however tweeted later that White House officials should “receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.” He also noted that he isn’t scheduled to receive the jab but would do so at the “appropriate time”. 

It isn’t clear what made Trump change the plans and the impact it would have on efforts to keep key officials safe from the coronavirus infection. 

US is set to roll out Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday after receiving EUA (emergency use authorization) from FDA last week. The vaccine which has been deemed to have 95% efficacy is being distributed across 50 US states to dozens of locations. The first three million doses of the ordered stock are shipping as we speak, with first shipment of those having left Michigan storage facility on Sunday. The priority groups to receive the vaccination include elderly and healthcare workers. 

With US experiencing daily peaks of positive Covid-19 cases, the vaccine rollout will be a turning point in country’s fight against the pandemic. The virus has already taken a toll of over 300,000 lives in US. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) said that its EUA on Friday was a “significant milestone” in fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already being administered in the UK after approval. Other countries to give regulatory approval to the Pfizer vaccine are Bahrain, Canada and Saudi Arabia. 

The US vaccination drive commencement on Monday coincides with the official endorsement of Joe Biden as election winner by the Electoral College.

The early vaccines were planned to be reserved for President Trump and those working in close proximity to him, as was confirmed by National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Ullyot after being first reported by the New York Times. This was also in line with establishing confidence among American public regarding vaccine. Mr. Ullyot had said, “The American people should have confidence that they are receiving the same safe and effective vaccine as senior officials of the United States government on the advice of public health professionals and national security leadership.”

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that will be given in two jabs at an interval of 21 days. The vaccine contains a small fragment of virus’s genetic material (RNA) that when injected will trigger the body’s immune response. 

US has ordered 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine which will be supplied by March. 200 million doses of Moderna vaccine too have been ordered but the vaccine still hasn’t received FDA approval.  

A cyberattack on the US government, perhaps from Russia
Americas

A cyberattack on the US government, perhaps from Russia

A cyberattack on the US government: It targeted several federal agencies by hackers linked to a foreign government. According to the New York Times, the main suspicions fall on Russia.  The White House confirmed yesterday evening that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government broke into a range of key government platforms. The departments of the Treasury and Commerce were also under attack as the hackers are gaining free access to email. 

Administrators affirmed that an investigation is taking place to ascertain if other government networks had been targeted by the sophisticated attack. That would be the most critical cyber offensive from the last five years, and a vast operation is underway to determine how extensive the attack was, described as one of the most sophisticated ever.

According to NBC, the hackers probably breached the systems of some national security agencies, but it is not yet clear whether any classified data or information has been stolen until now. The Trump administration unveiled few details in public about the operation, which suggested that while the government was worried about Russian intervention in the 2020 election, key agencies working for the White House — and unrelated to the election — were the subject of a sophisticated attack that they were unaware of until recent weeks. The NYT notes.

John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement that the U.S. Government was aware of the attack, and it’s taking “all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation”. The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, whose director was fired by Donald Trump a few weeks ago for claiming that there had been no public election fraud, also indicated it was working on the offensive.

US media affirmed that one of the agencies of the Commerce Department were affected. For the NYT, it can be the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, responsible for the policy for internet-related issues, including establishing criteria and blocking imports and exports of technology viewed as a risk for the US national security.

The reasons behind the attack on the agency and the Treasury Department seems to be obscure. As for now, officials say that it is too early to estimate the damage caused by the cyberattack and how many pieces of information were breached. Many believe the attack was underway for months among the coronavirus pandemic and the preparation of the election.

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