17:49 GMT20 January 2021
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    US agencies have been compromised in a massive cyberattack that was reported earlier this week and was later confirmed by US authorities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia for the attack, while President Trump suspected China's involvement in it, also downplaying the extent of the data breach.

    White House officials were poised on Friday afternoon to issue an official statement accusing Russia of perpetrating the massive cyberattack, but were instructed not to do so at the eleventh hour, an anonymous source familiar with the matter has told AP.

    According to the media outlet, it is unclear whether US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was made aware of the statement before the interview on The Mark Levin Show in which he decidedly blamed Russia for the cybersecurity breach.

    Reports about the cyberattack, dubbed "Sunburst", emerged on Monday and refer to a spate of hacking activities targeting various US governmental agencies, including the Pentagon and the State Department, that is believed to have been ongoing for months. The attack was reportedly carried out by compromising the Texas-based company SolarWinds' software. 

    While some US media outlets and Pompeo were quick to pin the blame on Moscow, President Trump speculated that China might be behind the attack, while also toning down the scope of the cyber breach, which he says is not as severe as some might suggest.

    Russia promptly denied the accusations pointing at the lack of any evidence to support the claims.

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    US, Russia, cyberattack
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