Senator John McCain has admitted that the recent Wikileaks Vault7 dump is “very real” and has urged the CIA to crackdown on cybersecurity so it never happens again.
In a panicked statement to reporters, the Arizona Republican said that thousands of CIA documents detailing how American intelligence agencies routinely spy on citizens via smart TVs and phone devices, pose a threat to national security.
“We’ve got to do a lot more,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “If [the perpetrators] can hack the CIA, they can hack anybody. My biggest worry is they showed a capability that they can hack into some of our most important secrets, our most important classified material, that’s what bothers me,” McCain complained.
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McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said his committee has made cybersecurity and evidence of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election through hacking a top priority by establishing a cyber subcommittee earlier this year.
But he said the issue also falls under the jurisdiction of three other committees, including the panels on intelligence and the judiciary, which need to better coordinate their oversight and investigations with his panel’s subcommittee.
Asked if he thought Russia had any role in the CIA hack, McCain sarcastically responded:
“No, never, never… somebody in the basement of his house smoking cigarettes in his underwear was responsible.”
The sharp retort seemed to be an attempt to poke fun at Trump’s assertion back in late September before his election that the DNC hacking could have been anyone from the Chinese to a “400-pound guy” lying in his bed.
Pressed on whether he holds the Russians accountable for WikiLeaks’ CIA document dump, McCain said there’s no way he could know right now but pointed to Moscow’s relationship with infamous NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden has spent more than three years in Russia seeking asylum from U.S. spying charges.
“I can’t say that [the Russians are responsible], but it’s clear that WikiLeaks has had a Russian connection,” he said.