McCain dismisses Russian impact on election, stresses need for cyber committee

McCain dismisses Russian impact on election, stresses need for cyber committee

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainKelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight How Obama just endorsed Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) said Saturday that he does not believe Russian hackers affected the presidential election, adding that he plans to recommend a new select committee on cybersecurity.

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"I do not think that the outcome of the election was impacted by Russian hacking. I think the American people have the good sense to vote for people without the help of Russian hackers,” McCain said at the Halifax International Security Forum. “But I do believe it’s important for us to have — and I will be recommending — a select committee on the whole issue of cybersecurity.”

McCain went on to say that cybersecurity “crossed jurisdictional lines” between committees like Armed Services and Intelligence, and the issue is too important to leave without a specific home. McCain noted that cyber is the only aspect in which the U.S. military is not leaps and bounds ahead of other nations. 

“When Admiral [Mike} Rogers, the head of Cyber Command, testifies before our committee and says ‘I don’t know what I don’t know,’ that, my friends, is one of the more disturbing things you could ever hear.”

Around the time McCain spoke at the forum, The Washington Post published a story claiming Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had both asked President Obama to remove Rogers from his post at the NSA. Clapper, it said, wanted the NSA to have its own command structure under civilian control and Carter questioned Rogers's competency in issues of internal security and cyber operations against ISIS. 

McCain dodged a question on whether he would join Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE's (R-S.C.) call for a congressional investigation on Russian hacking, instead focusing on his fundamental belief that the Russian hackers could never trump “the good judgment of the American people.”

“The Chinese hacked my campaign,” he said before pivoting into a joke. “That’s why I lost. Now I know”