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 McCainCongress must heed Pentagon's request for appropriate funding Overnight Cybersecurity: Flynn refuses to comply with Senate subpoena | Chaffetz postpones hearing with Comey | Small biz cyber bill would cost M | New worm spotted after 'Wanna Cry' US should keep leading the global economy, not close off borders MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamCongress should pass the RAC Act to protect Dreamers Juan Williams: Trump morphs into Nixon This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony MORE (R-S.C.), Jack ReedJack ReedDem senators push for probe of Sessions over Comey firing Overnight Finance: Trump floats tying tax reform, infrastructure | Trump trade rep confirmed | Dems raise concerns over banking regulator | House to kick off tax reform hearings Overnight Regulation: Senate GOP looking at how to repeal ObamaCare insurer rules | Dems raise concerns over bank regulator MORE (D-R.I) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCongress urges Trump administration to release public transit funding Overnight Tech: FCC begins rolling back net neutrality | Sinclair deal puts heat on regulators | China blames US for 'Wanna Cry' attack Sasse dominates Twitter with Schumer photo, 'reefer' caption 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 TrumpYates told White House counsel about Flynn ‘so you can act’ Trump trip gives GOP a breather Trump may tap Lewandowski, Bossie as crisis managers: report 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 Rodham ClintonFEC Democrat pushes to expand Russia investigation Trump approval falls 4 points in new survey Voting advocates notch win at Supreme Court 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 RyanIs a wave election forming for Democrats? Ryan-allied group launches M ad campaign ahead of healthcare CBO score This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony 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.