John McCain Calls Sony Hack Attack ‘A New Form of Warfare’

John McCain Cable Satellite
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) countered President Obama’s characterization of the hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment as “cyber-vandalism.”

“The president does not understand that this is … a manifestation of a new form of warfare,” McCain told Candy Crowley. “When you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship on the world and especially the United States of America, 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 that were lifted under the Bush administration, including other actions and that will squeeze them for economically. But most of all, we have to really work together with the president and the Congress to come up with counters and abilities to respond, but more importantly to prevent.”

The FBI announced on Friday their conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the attack, apparently in retaliation for the comedy “The Interview.” The North Korean regime has denied it.

In another interview, Obama was asked by Crowley how he characterized the attack on Sony. “I don’t think it was an act of war. I think it was an act of cyber-vandalism that was very, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionally as I said.”

Chris Dodd, the chairman of the MPAA, referred to the attack as an act of “cyber-terrorism.”

Obama said at a press conference on Friday that Sony’s decision to pull “The Interview” was a mistake. But Sony said the president and others did not understand the sequence of events, as theaters pulled out of showing the movie and left the studio with “no choice.” Exhibitors dropped the movie in the face of a threat of violence issued by the hackers, although Homeland Security officials said they had found no evidence that the threat was credible.

Obama softened his criticism of the studio’s decision to Crowley. “Well, look, I was pretty sympathetic to the fact that they’ve got business considerations they’ve got to make. And you know, had they talked to me directly about this decision, I might have called movie theater chains and distributors and asked them what the story was.

“But what I was laying out was a principle that I think this country has to abide by. We believe in free speech. We believe in the right of artistic expression and things that power that be might not like. And if we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt, through cyber, you know, a company’s distribution chain or its products and, as a consequence, we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem.”

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  1. John Shea says:

    How right Senator McCain was! Unlike so many other gutless commenters.

  2. John Q says:

    McCain wants more money for NSA/defense. So he’s using scare tactics. Shame on you.

  3. tomj says:

    John McCain is completely nuts. His sole attention is to get the US involved in a major war

  4. kickasskunoichi says:

    If I wanted to listen to the rants of a crazy old man, I’d go to the corner the winos hang out. Seriously, he needs to stfu.

  5. scott says:

    If the united states has control over the internet (minus what Obama gave up earlier this year), how can this happen?

  6. M Hoffman says:

    John McCain? Was this not the same John McCain who was shot down over North Vietnam while committing criminal acts of warfare, bombing civilians and committing criminal murder and mayhem? Some hero? As for his claims of “acts of war”, how about the cyber spying upon US citizens and other governments by our “own” government? How about it John? When a citizen discloses the criminal conduct of his own government in this country he must flee for his safety and freedom. Some “free” country this is. Maybe old idiotic criminal moron John needs to turn his attention to THIS CRIMINAL country and leave North Korea alone. They have more than enough problems without our constant threats and provocation.

  7. John Shea says:

    Bravo, Senator McCain! We make our most important choices when we think we have no choice.

  8. Maja says:

    Well, I guess that the “Sony hacking” scandal is squirreling way out of proportion. Let’s please NOT start a WWIII because an already ill-reviewed film like “The Interview” is not being released at present. There are defenitely more urgent issues. “The Interview” never had a chance to be in contention with the OSCARS. Why then, does Hollywood not concentrate on business that it’s best at? Promote and distribute and report on well-made films that have a chance to win an OSCAR and therefore also make us happy seeing them in the rest of the world?

  9. Jacques Strappe says:

    Well, yes I suppose this is a “new” form of warfare to old Republicans not accustomed to that newfangled internet thing.

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