After Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, U.S. military and intelligence ramped up a secret program that inserted malware into the nation-state’s power grid, but didn’t brief President Trump over concerns that he might shutter the program or leak information about it to foreign governments, according to a new report.

The effort “has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” the New York Times cited a senior intelligence official as saying. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.” The initiatives have been conducted under the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which gave the defense secretary the ability to run “clandestine military activity” to counter cyberattacks without seeking presidential approval.

President Trump said the Times story was untrue and publishing it akin to treason. “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,” the president tweeted.

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