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 FeinsteinLawmakers feel pressure on guns Feinstein: Trump must urge GOP to pass bump stock ban Florida lawmakers reject motion to consider bill that would ban assault rifles 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.”

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 KingLawmakers are failing in duty to respond to the American people Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks GOP senators float fallback plan to protect Dreamers MORE (I-Maine) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (D-W.Va.) said they were disappointed the companies did not send their CEOs.

The panel's chairman, Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Senators introduce bill to help businesses with trade complaints Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security 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.