The president’s address to the nation on Russian cyber aggression

As prepared for delivery by the president (provided the president is not named Donald Trump), February 12, 2018.

My fellow Americans, I have requested this time tonight to speak to you regarding a matter of the greatest national urgency. As your commander in chief, I have no greater responsibility and no more solemn obligation than the preservation of the security of the United States of America, the safety of our people, and the vibrancy of our democracy.

Tonight, it is my duty to report to you that our institutions of self-government, our way of life, and even our freedom itself are under threat by ongoing acts of cyber aggression carried out by the Russian Federation. Fifteen months after the controversial and closely contested election of 2016, the Russian government, its agents, and its proxies acting under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin have continued to wage an electronic war of disinformation and disorder against the United States and many of our close allies.

Let me be clear: this constitutes the gravest risk to American national security since Soviet nuclear missiles stood ready to launch just 90 miles from Florida.

That’s why this evening, I will discuss the steps your government is taking and will take to punish these Russian assaults on American sovereignty and to counter and deter future threats from the Kremlin and its cyber warriors. Just as important, I want to outline for you and to the Russian people alike how our two nations can step back from the brink of conflict, and instead restore a relationship of mutual respect and enduring peace.

As you will recall, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on January 6, 2017 released an unclassified version of its report on Russian hacking for President Obama. The DNI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) concluded with “high confidence” that Putin had ordered a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. election. The intelligence community’s assessment found, and I quote: