Democratic senator calls Sony hack ‘terrorism’

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE (D-N.J.), the outgoing head of the Senate Foreign Relations panel, told CNN on Sunday that he is pushing Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryBudowsky: Dems madder than hell Tillerson: 'My view didn’t change' on Paris climate agreement CORRECTED: Three members of Mueller's team have donated to Democrats MORE to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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While he said the recently announced sanctions against the country were a good “first step,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on the “State of the Union” program that putting Pyongyang on the terrorism sponsor list would have “would have far more pervasive consequences.”

President Obama said last month that he would “review” the evidence to see if placing North Korea on the state sponsors of terrorism list is warranted but said there is not yet a case for doing so.

“I don't think it was an act of war. I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive,” Obama said in an interview with CNN. “We take it very seriously.”

On Sunday, Menendez pushed back.

“You know, the one thing I disagree … with the president on is when he characterized the action here against Sony by North Korea as an act of vandalism. Vandalism is when you break a window,” he told Bash. “Terrorism is when you destroy a building. And what happened here is that North Korea landed a virtual bomb on Sony's parking lot, and ultimately had real consequences to it as a company and to many individuals who work there.”

Menendez said on Sunday that he has not received a response from Kerry about his request, but he looks “forward to engaging him when he appears before the committee in the new year.”

“I think there has to be a real consequence to this. Otherwise, you will see it happen again and again,” he added.

There is also support for adding North Korea to the terror sponsor list from Republicans, including incoming Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn McCainCoats: Trump seemed obsessed with Russia probe The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Meghan McCain slams 'felon' Dinesh D'Souza over tweets mocking father's captivity MORE (R-Ariz.).

“It's more than vandalism, it's a new form of warfare that we're involved in and we need to react and react vigorously, including reimposing sanctions,” McCain said last month.