Washington: US President Donald Trump has asked The New York Times to disclose its sources behind the report that claimed that his government was ramping up cyber attacks on Russia's electric power grid as a sign of warning to President Vladimir Putin.
"The story in the @nytimes about the US escalating attacks on Russia's power grid is Fake News, and the Failing New York Times knows it. They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony. Times must be held fully accountable!" Trump wrote on his official Twitter handle on Monday (local time).
Citing unofficial sources, The New York Times report claimed that the US has placed a malware inside the Russian systems operating the nation's power grid so as to conduct cyber attacks if a conflict arises between the two countries in the future.
The report adds that Trump himself has not been briefed about the details of the "implants" inside the Russian grid, in fear that he might countermand the operation or discuss it with the foreign officials.
"Two administration officials said they believed Mr Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" - software code that can be used for surveillance or attack - inside the Russian grid," said the report.
"Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction - and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister," it added.
Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton had recently said that the US was now taking a broader view of the potential digital targets as part of an effort "to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyber-operations against us, ''You will pay a price."
In a couple of tweets on Saturday, the US President had refuted these claims and deemed the article a "virtual act of treason" written without "the slightest thought of consequence."
"Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country," Trump wrote on Twitter.
"ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!" He added.