The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Republican John McCain at a Committee hearing dedicated to cyber threats for the United States, mainly from Russia said that “the United State’s leniency on the Russian Federation’s aggressive foreign policy is what prompted the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to order cyber-attacks, intending to intervene in the presidential elections.
"We should not be surprised that Vladimir Putin could have thought that he would be able to carry out cyber attacks on our nation, when he paid such a small price for the invasion of Ukraine, for the annexation of the Crimea, for the undermining of democratic institutions across all Europe, and of course for helping Bashar al-Assad to exterminate civilians in Syria for more than a year," the senator said.
McCain went on to argue that, "For years, cyber attacks on our country have been met with indecision and inaction. Our country has no policy, and therefore no strategy for cyber deterrence. This weakness has provoked our enemies to attack us multiple times, and every time the attacks became more dangerous. If we do not take action, letting them go unpunished, the attacks will continue and even increase. The only way to stop these attacks is to ensure that the punishment exceeds the degree of the consequences they are willing to accept."
According to a joint report of some US intelligence agencies that was released in the hearing, Russia represents a significant cyber threat for the military, diplomatic, trade and vital US infrastructure. That reported noted that the Kremlin has started to conduct much more aggressive cyber attacks, targeting government agencies, non-governmental analytical institutions, political organizations and business corporations.
Intelligence agencies believe that only representatives of the highest Russian leadership could have given the permission for those cyber attacks, which, according to Washington, aimed to interfere with the American electoral process.
However, the US President-elect, Donald Trump, and the members of his team continue to doubt those US intelligence data that prove Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections through cyber attacks.