Senators say cyberattacks 'have cut to the heart of our free society'

Senators say cyberattacks 'have cut to the heart of our free society'
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators said early Sunday that reports of Russian interference in U.S. elections should “alarm every American,” adding that recent cyberattacks “have cut to the heart of our free society.”

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“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted,” Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRomney forced into GOP primary for Utah Senate nomination Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP sold Americans a bill of goods with tax reform law Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller Rand Paul under pressure as Pompeo hunts for votes MORE (R-S.C.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls Senate Dems press Trump on legal justification for potential Syria strike MORE (D-R.I) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCan Mueller be more honest than his colleagues? Throwing some cold water on all of the Korean summit optimism House Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement calling for an investigation.

“Recent reports of Russian interference should alarm every American.”

The Washington Post reported on Friday that the CIA concluded Russia intervened in the election to help Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGingrich: Trump ‘mishandled’ Rosenstein memo on Comey Trump to gift Macron framed upholstery: report Former presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush MORE win the presidency.

Various people have been identified who helped the Russian government leak hacked documents from Democratic sources, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush Romney: Parts of Comey book read 'too much like a novel’ Collins: Comey should have waited to release his memoir MORE's campaign chairman, to WikiLeaks, according to the report.

President-elect Donald Trump assailed Democrats over the issue on Sunday, saying it was ridiculous to think Russia interfered in the election to help him get elected.

He charged that Democrats are looking for an excuse as to why they lost the White House, even as he again touted his "massive landslide victory" in the Electoral College.

The senators said on Sunday that Congress’s national security committees have worked “diligently” to address the “complex challenge” of cybersecurity, adding that “recent events show that more must be done.”

“While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further attacks,” they said.

“This cannot become a partisan issue. “The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments post to our national security.”

Other senators on Sunday also called for a response to Russia's reported interference.
 
 
 
"I think we need to get to the bottom of it," he told ABC. "And I think there should be an investigation because in order to defend ourselves against other adversarial countries, we have to protect our information."
 
A spokesperson for Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanLieu rips Ryan after Waffle House shooting: ‘When will you stop silencing us?’ To succeed in Syria, Democrats should not resist Trump policy House Republicans prepare to battle for leadership slots MORE, meanwhile, said in an email to The Hill that the Wisconsin Republican for months has said that foreign intervention is “unacceptable,” adding that his office has worked to ensure that the election was “conducted consistent with our long history of free and fair elections.”
 
“The speaker can not comment on or characterize the content of classified briefings but he rejects any politicization of intelligence matters,” AshLee Strong added, without mentioning the senators' call for an investigation.
 
--Scott Wong and Mallory Shelbourne contributed to this report, which was updated at 4 p.m.