Russia Is Ahead Of The U.S. On Cyber Warfare, John McCain Tells CNN

Russia is beating the United States in cyber warfare, Senator John McCain has told CNN. The Arizona senator and Republican former presidential candidate told CNN’s State of the Union that the U.S. needed to do more to combat Russian aggression or risk the “unraveling of the world order.”

In an interview with CNN‘s Jake Tapper, McCain said that President Barack Obama’s approach to Russia was inadequate and he hoped President-elect Donald Trump would take a tougher stance against cyber attacks. McCain said he hoped Trump would take the right advice when he became president and change his attitude to Russia.

“What’s happening here, when we see the seizure of these ships,” McCain said. “When we see the cyber attacks, when we see the dismemberment of Syria, when we see the tragedies that are taking place there, which are heartbreaking, actually heartbreaking, while we sat by and watched all this happen.”

“This is a sign of a possible unraveling of the world order that was established after World War II, which was made one of the most peaceful periods in the history of the world,” McCain said, according to Mediaite. “We’re starting to see that, the strains and the unraveling of it, and that’s because of an absolute failure of American leadership.”

Tapper asked McCain about Donald Trump’s possible connections with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. McCain is one of several Republican senators who has called for a full, bipartisan inquiry into Russian involvement in the election. McCain has also criticized Trump for his attitude toward Russia.

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington
McCain criticized President Obama’s approach to Russia [Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]

“I hope that, with people like General [James] Mattis and some other people around him, that he will very quickly understand what the Russians are all about,” McCain said. “And that is, they are ahead of us in many respects in this whole issue of cyber warfare. So, we not only need a select committee on exactly what they did in this case, but the whole issue of cyber warfare, where we have no strategy and no policy, because it is one of the areas where they have an advantage, perhaps the only area where our adversaries have an advantage over us.”

McCain said he did not agree with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that Russian interference in the election was motivated by Vladimir Putin’s desire for revenge against her. Clinton criticized Russian hacking of the Democratic National Convention and said that her time as secretary of state had contributed to Putin’s involvement in the election.

“I have seen no evidence that the election would have been different,” McCain said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that the Russians and others, Chinese to a lesser degree, have been able to interfere with our electoral process… Whether it would have affected the outcome of the election [or] not is the reason why we need to have a select committee.”

Vladimir Putin with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been implicated in hacking [Image by Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP Images]

McCain and other senators from both parties, including the incoming Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, will investigate Russian hacking and interference in the election when the new Congress meets in January. Donald Trump has dismissed claims of Russian involvement and is unlikely to support an investigation into Russia.

“The responsibilities for cyber is spread over about four different committees in the Senate,” McCain told Tapper. “And each doing their own thing, frankly, is not going to be the most efficient way of arriving at a conclusion. This is serious business. If they are able to harm the electoral process, then they destroy democracy, which is based on free and fair elections.”

McCain warned that Russia is leading the United States in cyber warfare and called on the president-elect to take a tougher approach to Russia. But Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin has already drawn criticism, while his refusal to accept the conclusions of the intelligence agencies has worried McCain and his Senate colleagues. Russia has denied any involvement in hacking.

[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]