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Trump NSA Nominee: Russia, China, Others Don't Fear Retaliation for Cyberattacks

Army Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss his qualifications as nominee to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 1, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the country's cyberspace operations said Thursday Russia, China and other countries do not fear retaliation for their cyberattacks on the United States.

"They don't think much will happen," Army Lt. General Paul Nakasone told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing to direct the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command.

Nakasone's comments came after his retiring predecessor, Admiral Mike Rogers, told the committee Monday that Trump had not given him permission to disrupt Russia's election hacking operations.

The U.S.'s 17 intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that Trump won. Moreover, the agencies warned recently that Russia is trying to disrupt midterm elections in November.

Nakasone, who has been head of the Army Cyber Command since late 2016, is expected to be confirmed.

Morale among NSA employees has reportedly declined in recent years after several leaks of the agency's most highly classified hacking tools. The government has not given any public indication that it is aware how the thefts of the tools occurred.