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 McCainMulvaney aims to cement CFPB legacy by ensuring successor's confirmation Trump mocks McCain at Nevada rally Don’t disrespect McCain by torpedoing his clean National Defense Authorization Act MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate panel advances three spending bills Trump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official MORE (R-S.C.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council Senators question Afghanistan commander nominee on turning around 17-year war Reed: ‘Preposterous’ for Trump to say North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat MORE (D-R.I) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDonald Trump Jr. headlines Montana Republican convention Montana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points 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 TrumpGOP lawmakers preparing to vote on bill allowing migrant children to be detained longer than 20 days: report Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters Ex-White House ethics chief: Sarah Sanders tweet violates ethics laws 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 ClintonColorado governor teases possible presidential run Mueller asks judge for September sentencing for Papadopoulos House Judiciary Committee subpoenas FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts 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 RyanLaura Ingraham: George Will is ‘sad and petty’ for urging votes against GOP Seth Rogen: I told Paul Ryan I hate his policies in front of his kids George Will: Vote against GOP in midterms 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.