McCain: Russia cyber-attacks on US an ‘act of war’

(FILES) This file photo taken on February 9, 2016 shows US Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaking during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Republican Senator John McCain slammed Donald Trump on August 1, 2016 for disparaging the Muslim family of a slain American soldier, and demanded that his party's presidential candidate set an example for the country. / AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

John McCain / AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

Russia’s alleged cyber-attacks on US political organizations — hacking which the intelligence community concluded amounted to meddling in the US election — were an “act of war,” senior US Senator John McCain said Wednesday.

“It’s an act of war,” McCain, a hawkish Republican and critic of the Kremlin, told reporters in the US Capitol.

“If you try to destroy the fundamentals of democracy, then you have destroyed a nation.”

McCain modulated by insisting there are “gradients” to acts of war.

“I’m not saying it’s an atomic attack. I’m just saying that when you attack a nation’s fundamental structure, which they are doing, then it’s an act of war.”

McCain has been a staunch critic of Moscow, insisting Washington must hit President Vladimir Putin’s government with harder sanctions than the ones President Barack Obama’s administration announced last week for Russia’s role in US election-related hacking.

He has also been critical of US President-elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt over intelligence community conclusions about the cyber-attacks.

Hackers obtained thousands of emails and documents from the computers of the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, which were published by WikiLeaks in the weeks ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

Some of the documents were embarrassing to the Clinton campaign and analysts say they likely contributed to Trump’s victory.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee who lost to Obama, traveled last week on a congressional trip to Ukraine.

He said a key takeaway from his visit was that Ukrainian officials “want an American presence” as a bulwark against Russia.

“They’re scared to death of Putin. And they’re scared to death of us abandoning them,” McCain said Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by McCain, holds the first public hearing in Congress on the hacking, with witnesses including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

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  • Mixa Klimment

    Obama simply looks a great spiteful fool and makes America look the same just because election didnt go how he wanted. He is a nobody and achieved little.

  • Christopher Adodo

    McCain is an evil man, and he is
    sanctioned by Russia for his role in Ukraine crisis.
    Everything about him is bomb, bomb,bomb, and wars.
    He was the first American Senator, to take photographs with Syrian Rebers and possibly with “IS”.
    He is simply a cause to the World, and the hacking alibi is to create a new Cold War.