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US Lawmakers: Cyber Attacks Will Have Consequences

FILE - Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Dana Rohrabacher.
FILE - Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Dana Rohrabacher.
Cindy Saine
Members of a U.S. congressional panel have expressed concern about the threat cyber attacks from other nations pose to U.S. national security.  Some lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to make sure governments which might be encouraging or tolerating cyber attacks know that these incidents will have serious consequences.  

The Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats has called on the Obama administration to do more than just issue stern warning statements to China and other nations. 

Subcommittee chairman Dana Rohrabacher was among the lawmakers who said that what we are now seeing is more than just individual acts of corporate espionage.

"China, Iran, North Korea and Russia have all used cyber attacks aimed at strategic infrastructure targets," said Rohrabacher. "Targets that would be attacked in another way if there was a war."

Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, said President Barack Obama needs to do more than just raise the issue with Chinese leaders.  He says the president needs to spell out what consequences cyber attacks will have.  Ranking member William Keating, a Democrat from Massachusetts, believes an international cyber security framework is needed.

"Further, the Internet is an open international domain, and cyber crimes clearly go beyond traditional law enforcement models," said Keating. "For this reason, national policies are incomplete without firm, international, cyber security standards and norms between like-minded allies."

Several of the lawmakers and witnesses said they feel the Chinese government, in particular, is getting away with the large-scale theft of U.S. intellectual property and other cyber attacks without facing any consequences. 

"The Chinese government cannot think of enough things to do with the money that they have been earning from the economic warfare that they have been executing against the United States," said Greg Autry, senior economist with the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

Senior Obama administration officials said they have made it clear to China and other countries that cyber attacks must end.  The Chinese government has said that it is a victim, and not a perpetrator, of cyber attacks.

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