McConnell: ‘Any Foreign Breach of Our Cybersecurity Measures Is Disturbing’

By Melanie Arter | December 12, 2016 | 11:17am EST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP Photo)

( – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday “strongly” condemned efforts to “breach” U.S. cybersecurity measures, saying that it “simply cannot be a partisan issue.”

“Obviously, any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” McConnell said.


“Prior to the election, the director of national intelligence released a statement saying that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. That is what the intelligence community believes can be said in unclassified remarks without risking sources and methods. Anything else, anything else is irresponsible, likely illegal and potentially for partisan political gain,” McConnell added.

McConnell said he agreed with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others that “this simply cannot be a partisan issue.”

He said the Senate Intelligence Committee on which he sits “is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter, and Senator Schumer will soon join us on the committee, and he can review this matter through the regular order.”

“I have every confidence in Chairman Burr that he will review the matter in a responsible way. The Obama administration is also now launching a review, and when the office of the director of national intelligence completes its review there will be additional information released to the public in a responsible manner,” McConnell said.

“Chairman McCain has announced that he will conduct a review within the Armed Services Committee of the threat that we face from cyberattacks. That will be useful, as we need to integrate our cyber capabilities into our overall war-fighting doctrine,” McConnell added.

McConnell also pointed out that for the past eight years, the Obama administration “sat back” while Russia “expanded its sphere of influence” and that it defied belief that GOP senators ignored Russian tactics.

“The Obama administration for eight years attempted to reset relations with Russia and sat back while Russia expanded its sphere of influence, intervened in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, Syria, and attempted to bully the Baltic countries. It defies belief that somehow Republicans in the Senate are reluctant to either review Russian tactics or ignore them,” McConnell said.

“So last, let me say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people,” he said.

When asked whether he was concerned about signals coming from the Trump administration that indicated “more friendliness toward Russia both through appointments and statements,” McConnell emphasized, “The Russians are not our friends – invaded Crimea. Senator McCain and I and some of our Democratic friends met with the delegation from the Baltic countries just this past week. To say that they are nervous about the Russians would put it mildly.

“Let me also say as I said last year, NATO’s important. We intend to keep the commitments that are made in the NATO agreement, which I think by any objective standard has probably been one of the most – if not the most successful military alliance in the world history – and I think we ought to approach all of this issues on the assumption that the Russians do not wish us well,” he added.

During his statement, McConnell also listed a series of issues that the Congress was able to find agreement on, saying, “So even though there were obviously some pretty big differences in a time of divided government, I think we were able to search for the things – it was my desire to search for the things that we had some agreement on and make some progress for the country, and there were a number of things upon which we were able to score some points for the American people.”

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