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.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“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 McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedTop general says Iran complying with nuclear deal Top general: Transgender troops shouldn't be separated from military Dems ask FEC to create new rules in response to Russian Facebook ads MORE (D-R.I) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico 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 TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open 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 ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support 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 RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term 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.