- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rep. Peter Hoekstra said Thursday that North Korea is likely behind the recent cyber attacks and the appropriate response would be a “show of force or strength.”

Mr. Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Washington Times’ America’s Morning News radio show that President Obama’s and previous administrations’ soft-touch approach on bringing such rogue nations as Iran and North Korea back to the fold is not working.

“All of these folks believe that through the power of their personality or persuasion they can bring these irrational players to the negotiating table to do rational things,” he said. “And they’re just wrong.”

Mr. Hoekstra said that if North Korea indeed launched the cyber attacks over the extended July Fourth weekend on dozens of government and private sites, including the White House and the New York Stock Exchange, the leaders of the communist country “need to be sent a strong message” or their next attempt could have dire results.

“Whether it’s a counter attack on cyber or more international sanctions, it’s time for America, South Korea, Japan and other countries to stand up to North Korea or the next time they’ll go in and shut down a banking system … or manipulate the electrical grid either here or in South Korea,” said Mr. Hoekstra, Michigan Republican. “Or they will try and miscalculate, and people will be killed.”

Another round of attacks Thursday in South Korea resulted in minor disruptions to a government Web site and six commercial sites, including ones for a major bank and a newspaper.

The attacks have not been linked to the Pyongyang government. However, Mr. Hoekstra thinks “the best people in America” investigating the incidents have reached the conclusion that the targets, the broad scale of the attacks and the timing have “all fingers pointing” to North Korea.

“This couldn’t be the work of some amateurs,” he said.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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