A decision by Sony Pictures to cancel the release of its upcoming movie poking fun at the leader of North Korea was ultimately a result of the Obama administration’s “failure to satisfactorily address the use of cyber weapons by our nation’s enemies,” according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
McCain called Sony’s decision to scrap the upcoming release of its movie “The Interview” due to cyber-attacks credited to North Korea “profoundly troubling” and said that the decision to yield to its attacks set a precedent that will “only empower and embolden bad actors to use cyber as an offensive weapon even more aggressively in the future.”
“But, make no mistake. The need for Sony Pictures to make that decision ultimately arose from the Administration’s continuing failure to satisfactorily address the use of cyber weapons by our nation’s enemies,” the Arizona lawmaker said in a statement Thursday.
According to McCain, the North Korean cyber-attack is part of a pattern of cyber-attacks by bad actors that have been undeterred by the Obama administration.
“From Iranian and Russian attacks on American banks to China’s orchestrated campaign to steal military secrets from our defense contractors, the Administration’s failure to deter our adversaries has emboldened, and will continue to embolden, those seeking to harm the United States through cyberspace,” he said.
The Republican went on say that, should he be elected to head the Senate Armed Services Committee, he will boost oversight of cyber issues, including establishing a subcommittee focused on such matters.
“But, Congress as a whole must also address these issues and finally pass long-overdue comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the coming year to make this matter a priority,” he added.
McCain’s cohort, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also expressed his frustration with current cyber-attack responses Thursday, arguing that it has become the “weapon of choice” for international bad actors.
“The Commander-in-Chief should immediately put our enemies on notice that they conduct these attacks against our nation and interests at their own peril,” Graham said. “We should make it clear to our adversaries that when they attack our American companies and government institutions they will be held accountable.”
He added that next Congress cyber-security should be a “priority.”