Clinton urged to defend website under attack by Chinese hackers

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to condemn a reported cyberattack from China aimed at a U.S. website.

After Change.org was reportedly infiltrated by Chinese hackers, DeLauro told Clinton to speak up to defend the website.

The alleged attacks began after Change.org hosted an online petition calling for the release of Chinese prisoner Ai Weiwei, an internationally known artist detained by Chinese authorities for his outspoken criticism of the government. 

In a letter Monday, DeLauro urged Clinton "to condemn this attack on Change.org and call on the Chinese government to take swift action to ensure that this attack and others like it in the future are stopped swiftly and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

She described it as an attack on Americans' "fundamental right to free speech and another example of the Government of China's intent to restrain human rights."

"The American public rightly expects protection from foreign cyberattacks against digital communications," DeLauro said. 

Clinton should condemn the attack and tell Chinese authorities to crack down on any hackers who took aim at Change.org, a U.S. company that provides digital platforms for activists to organize online. 

The company joined the congresswoman in urging Clinton to make an official statement. The State Department has previously condemned cyberattacks on U.S. companies, including Google.

"This is an ongoing, highly sophisticated attack on a U.S. company specifically designed to suppress the ability and legal right of American citizens to organize around the issues they care about,” said Ben Rattray, chief executive of Change.org.