Former New York governor: Declare cyber war on North Korea

The U.S. should “declare cyber war on North Korea,” said former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

“We should do everything we can now to make the North Koreans pay for their act against the United States’ freedom of speech,” Pataki said on The Cats Roundtable, host John Catsimatidis’s radio show on AM 970 in New York airing Sunday.

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The U.S. government is blaming North Korea for a cyberattack against Sony Pictures that has crippled the company and forced it to cancel the release of its controversial comedy, “The Interview,” about a fictional plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un. 

President Obama has vowed the U.S. “will respond proportionally.” CNN reported Friday that response would likely include economic and banking sanctions. 

Pataki, who served as New York governor from 1995 to 2006, believes America has the right to go further. It should launch retaliatory cyberattacks — essentially declare cyber war.

The U.S. should consider “using our cyber technology to disrupt their ability to communicate, to disrupt the ability of the Kim regime to continue to oppress its people, short of any acts of violence, are something we should consider,” he said.

For Pataki, the whole incident highlights a broader problem: America’s lack of leadership in the world.

“I think part of it is President Obama’s decision to lead from behind and basically disengage with so many parts of the world,” he added. 

“This is just outrageous,” Pataki continued. “When a small totalitarian country like North Korea can make a United States corporation pull back a movie and limit freedom of speech in the United States, there’s just something horribly wrong.”

Pataki noticed further appeasement from the president this week in the decision to ease relations with Cuba. Obama on Wednesday announced he was taking steps to normalize full diplomatic relations with the communist country.

In recent weeks, it has been reported Pataki was considering a presidential run in 2016. 

He didn’t back down from the reports Sunday.

“I’m strongly leaning toward” running, he said. “I think that I’ve done a number of things, in particular, run a large, complex, very blue state … for 12 years, and, at the end, left it dramatically changed.”

The Republican presidential field is wide open, with easily a dozen possibilities. 

Former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) made headlines this week, declaring he was “actively exploring” a White House bid, making him the first big name to throw his hat in the ring.

Pataki thinks he could stand a chance against any competitor.

His time as governor “sets me apart from those who talk about things but haven’t had the actual ability to show whether or not they can run a complex government,” he said.