The question of whether the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election came up during this weeks Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Senator Marco Rubio asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and his colleagues in the U.S. intelligence community, if they would be comfortable having cybersecurity software on their computers from the Russian company Kaspersky Labs.
The FBI has long suspected Kaspersky of working with the Russian government, and last week injected new life into the ongoing investigation into whether the firm “maintains any troubling relationships with the Russian government.”
Rubio also asked McCabe if the recent firing of former FBI Director James Comey had in any way “impeded, interrupted, stopped, or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigation?”
Here is the exchange between Senator Rubio and U.S. intelligence officials:
RUBIO: Mr. McCabe, can you, without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped, or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
FBI ACTING DIRECTOR ANDREW MCCABE: As you know, senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigations to date. Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
RUBIO: And this is for all the members of the committee. As has been widely reported, and people know this, Kaspersky Lab software is used by, if not hundreds of thousands, millions of Americans. To each of our witnesses I would just ask, would any of you be comfortable with Kaspersky Lab software on your computers?
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAN COATS: A resounding no from me.
NSA DIRECTOR MICHAEL ROGERS: No.
CIA DIRECTOR MIKE POMPEO: No, senator.
MCCABE: No, sir.
DIA DIRECTOR VINCENT STEWART: No, senator.
NGA DIRECTOR ROBERT CARDILLO: No, sir.