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Democratic senator calls Sony hack ‘terrorism’

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale Sanders push to block arms sale to Israel doomed in Senate Schumer tactics on China bill reveal broader trade strategy 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 KerryIn Europe, Biden seeks to reassert U.S. climate leadership Climate progressives launch first action against Biden amid growing frustration What US policymakers can glean from Iceland's clean energy evolution 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 Sidney McCainMeghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Arizona AG Mark Brnovich launches Senate challenge to Mark Kelly Arizona Democrats launch voter outreach effort ahead of key Senate race 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.