Tags: McCain | Obama | Sony

McCain: Obama Doesn't Understand Hacks Are Warfare

By    |   Sunday, 21 December 2014 11:44 AM

Sen. John McCain, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said President Barack Obama doesn't understand that the cyber attack on Sony is a new form of warfare.

Obama was interviewed Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," telling host Candy Crowley that he didn't consider the hacking an act of war, but an act of vandalism.

"The president does not understand that this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare," McCain said in a separate interview with Crowley afterward. "When you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship on the world, and especially on the United States of America, it's more than vandalism."

McCain said he wants to see a vigorous reaction from the United States against North Korea, which has been identified as being behind the attack. Threats against theaters showing the comedy "The Interview," which depicts the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un, forced theaters to pull the movie, and Sony to decide not to release it on Christmas Day as scheduled.

McCain said the United States has been late to the game in the world of cyber warfare and should develop countermeasures to respond and prevent such attacks.

Hacks from China already have exposed some of America's most important military secrets, he said.

"We've lost billions of dollars in industrial capabilities and secrets," McCain told Crowley.

Part of the problem, he said, is that it is hard to determine where national security ends and personal privacy begins.

Banks, water systems, and the electrical grid are vulnerable and though it is uncertain whether hackers have the ability to strike them now, they most certainly will eventually, McCain said.

Obama told Crowley that he doesn't believe he was outwitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine earlier this year, adding that he thinks the current financial crisis Russia is facing is proof of that.

McCain called that statement "bizarre," saying that it was the drop in oil prices that should get the credit for the drop in the ruble and tanking of Russia's economy, which is heavily dependent on oil.

Economic sanctions have had almost no effect until the price of oil dropped, he said.

McCain said that Obama "continues to act in the most imperial fashion" as president, taking executive actions even after his party suffered defeat in this year's midterms.

Most presidents seek ways to work with the opposite party in such circumstances, McCain said, but Obama "has gone exactly the opposite direction."

Though McCain agrees with Obama on closing the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, McCain prefers to see the terrorism suspect held there transferred to maximum-security American prisons rather that released as Obama has been doing.

"It's outrageous to release people who are going to re-enter the fight, and try to kill Americans and attack America," he said.

McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who lost to Obama in the general election, said national security will be taking on a larger role in the Republican primaries in 2016.

There are "strong differences" on policy outlook between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and members of the tea party wing such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, he noted.

Asked whether that would open a door for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, in the general election, McCain said no. The results of her time at the job "were not very appealing to the average American," McCain said.

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Sen. John McCain, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said President Barack Obama doesn't understand that the cyber attack on Sony is a new form of warfare.
McCain, Obama, Sony
Sunday, 21 December 2014 11:44 AM
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