Tags: John McCain | north korea | hacking | sony | cyberwarfare | terrorism

McCain, Graham Lead Calls for Tough Response to NKorea

McCain, Graham Lead Calls for Tough Response to NKorea
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (Ron Sachs/DPA/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 22 December 2014 09:51 AM

The cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system by North Korea does not constitute an act of war, rather it is "an act of cyber vandalism" that requires the U.S. to "respond proportionately," said President Barack Obama.

"No, I don't think it was an act of war. I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionally, as I said," Obama said in an interview on Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union."

In an interview taped on Friday, Obama said that the United States is in an "environment in this new world" where state and non-state actors will possess the capacity to disrupt everyday life.

"We have to treat it like we would treat, you know, the incidents of crime in our countries. When other countries are sponsoring it, we take it very seriously," Obama said.

Responding to Obama's characterization of the cyberattack launched against Sony,  Sen. John McCain, the incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the president does not understand that cyberterrorism is a "new form of warfare."

"The president does not understand that this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare. 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.

McCain's Republican colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, also agreed that it was "an act of terrorism" and warrants placing North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The U.S. needs to "make it so hard on the North Koreans that they don’t want to do this in the future," said Graham, according to The State.

North Korea has denied it had any involvement in the hacking of Sony, but earlier this month the North Korean National Defense Commission issued a statement praising the hack as a "righteous deed," The Washington Post reported.

Asked whether his administration would reverse the decision in 2008 to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Obama said a decision had yet to be made.

"We’ve got very clear criteria as to what it means for a state to sponsor terrorism. And we don’t make those judgments just based on the news of the day," Obama told CNN's Candy Crowley.

Some, however, do not believe North Korea's actions necessarily rise to the level of an act of war.

"Well, you can't necessarily say an act of war. We don't have good, clear policy guidance on what that means when it comes to cyberattacks," Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on Fox News.

Rogers said the U.S. has the capability to take immediate action against North Korea, but that "we just didn't get a decision" from Obama.

"I'm saying, if you're talking about a proportional attack, it should be at least proportional. The United States has the capability to make it very difficult for the North Koreans to do an attack like this anytime soon," he told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had told Secretary of State John Kerry during meetings on the previous day that "China opposes all forms of cyberattacks and cyber terrorism," according to Reuters

However, China also said that it had no proof that North Korea was behind the Sony hacking, Reuters reported.

The United States has reached out to China to elicit its assistance in placing pressure on its allies in Pyongyang.

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Although President Obama has said that the cyberattack on Sony Pictures' computer system by North Korea does not constitute an act of war, other lawmakers disagree and some are calling for a clear response.
north korea, hacking, sony, cyberwarfare, terrorism
Monday, 22 December 2014 09:51 AM
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