Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said as commander in chief the U.S. will deploy its military to respond to cyberattacks waged against its interests.
Amid a wide-ranging hacking campaign that has successfully claimed several victims from the Democratic Party in recent months, Mrs. Clinton indicated her administration will pursue offensive military campaigns against foreign hackers should she wins November’s general election.
“We’ll invest in the next frontier of military engagement, protecting U.S. interests in outer space and cyberspace,” Mrs. Clinton said while speaking Wednesday at the American Legion National Conference in Cincinnati. “You’ve seen reports. Russia’s hacked into a lot of things. China’s hacked into a lot of things. Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems.
“So, we’ve got to step up our game,” she said. “Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us.”
Mrs. Clinton’s remarks came as her party continues to suffer the consequences of a cybercampaign that in recent months has resulted in breaches affecting the House Democrats’ official fundraising wing and upwards of 100 separate party officials and organization — all in addition to the DNC hack that resulted in thousands of internal emails being published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia.
U.S. officials have all but officially blamed the hacking campaign on agents of the Russian government. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote in a letter to FBI Director James Comey Monday urging the bureau to “use every resource available” to investigate the hacks as well as any potential links to the Kremlin the same day that data breaches were reported at two state election offices. Moscow has denied involvement in the hacks.
“I will make it clear, that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack,” Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday. “We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses. And we’re going to invest in protecting our governmental networks and our national infrastructure. I want us to lead the world in setting the rules of cyberspace.
“If America doesn’t, others will,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponent for president, Donald Trump, suggested he supported the use of offensive cyberweapons in conducting attacks.
“I am a fan of the future, and cyber is the future,” he said when asked by Time magazine during the Republican National Convention about using cyberweapons.