Feinstein to tech execs: 'I don't think you get it'

Feinstein to tech execs: 'I don't think you get it'
© Camille Fine

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) lashed out Wednesday at technology companies for failing to properly address how Russia used social media during the 2016 presidential race and how other foreign agents might use it in the future. 

“I must say, I don’t think you get it,” Feinstein told representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter.

“What we’re talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we’re talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare. What we’re talking about is a major foreign power with the sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sew conflict and discontent all over this country.”

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Feinstein, who is running for reelection in 2018 and facing a likely primary challenge from the left, was one of several senators to express frustration with the company representatives at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s use of social media in the 2016 election. 

She also expressed disappointment in the vague answers she received at the Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, saying “that just won’t do.”

“You have a huge problem on your hands,” Feinstein said. “You have created these platforms and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones to do something about it, or we will.”

Feinstein’s combative exchange was one of several during Wednesday’s hearing. Sens. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Trump pushing Maine gov to run for Senate: report Schumer: Franken should resign MORE (I-Maine) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries MORE (D-W.Va.) said they were disappointed the companies did not send their CEOs.

The panel's chairman, Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE (R-N.C.), told Facebook's general counsel that the site failed at its mission at times in 2016.

The Senate Intelligence Committee was the second of three hearings this week on Russia’s use of social media in the 2016 election. The third will take place before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.