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Durbin says alleged Russian hack 'virtually a declaration of war'

Durbin says alleged Russian hack 'virtually a declaration of war'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden administration to back bill ending crack, powder cocaine sentence disparity: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (D-Ill.) called Russia’s alleged hack of multiple government agencies “virtually a declaration of war.”

During an interview on CNN, the Senate minority whip said the reported hack shows that the U.S. needs an “honest reset” in terms of its relationship with Moscow.

“We can’t be buddies with Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia deems Bard College program a threat to 'order and security' The Biden-Putin summit was a master class in diplomacy Cyberattack on Polish government officials linked to Russian hackers MORE and have him at the same time making this kind of cyberattack on America,” Durbin said. “This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia on the United States and we should take that seriously.”

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Reuters reported on Sunday that the Treasury Department and a Commerce Department agency were breached as part of an attack on IT company SolarWinds earlier this year. The Washington Post reported that “Cozy Bear,” a Russian military intelligence unit that has previously hacked the State Department, was behind the attack.

Most recently, The New York Times reported that branches of the Defense Department and State Department were successfully breached.

When asked if he felt like the Trump administration was “asleep at the wheel” regarding the hack, Durbin said the administration was “completely compromised.”

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“In one hand we knew what the Russians have been doing during the last four years and how much they put America’s security at risk and what it means to our own personal privacy. And the president has put his arm around the shoulder of Vladimir Putin and has called him his best friend,” Durbin said. “So, we can’t have that kind of dichotomy between policy and reality.”

Lawmakers and experts have already expressed alarm about the hack, and are calling for action.

Following a classified briefing on the hack, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tweeted on Tuesday that he was “deeply alarmed, in fact downright scared.”

“Americans deserve to know what's going on,” Blumenthal tweeted. “Declassify what’s known & unknown.”