Dem urges sanctions on North Korea for hacking

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Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetEconomists have a message: Clinton's policies are wrong for America Senate rivals gear up for debates Grassley pulling away from Dem challenger MORE (D-Colo.) on Wednesday called on his colleagues to move a bill that would strengthen the government's ability to sanction North Korea for hacking.

“North Korea’s repeated acts of aggression and hostility call for stronger sanctions,” Bennet said in a statement.

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The bill, known as the North Korea Sanctions Act, would also empower the government to sanction property and seize funds from the organizations and individuals supporting Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) originally introduced the measure last year, and Bennet later signed on as a co-sponsor.

Officials have blamed Pyongyang in recent years for orchestrating the bruising hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as for a series of cyberattacks on South Korean banks and nuclear facilities.

North Korea has also been widely denounced of late for its disputed claim that it carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test.

That test, Bennet said, “along with other acts of provocation demonstrate its disregard for international law and its desire to pursue a nuclear weapon.

“A bipartisan bill will send a strong message that the United States will not tolerate this intransigence and will give the Administration additional tools to strengthen and expand sanctions against the North Korean regime and those who support it,” he added.

Bennet's measure mirrors a bill from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia and cybersecurity.

Gardner's legislation, the so-called North Korean Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, would force President Obama to create a strategy to thwart and sanction North Korean hackers.

Bennet’s office said the two bills are expected to be merged when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers the issue on Thursday.