Charges that the Russians may have hacked the Democratic National Committee to help Donald Trump are “extraordinarily disturbing” to U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Warner sits on the Intelligence Committee and co-founded a cyber security caucus. He said we have to be careful not to encourage conspiracy theories, and he’s waiting to see the full investigation. But the senator said some of Trump’s pro-Russian positions make it very unsettling, almost unreal.
“It seems like it would be something out of the National Enquirer,” he said. “Donald Trump makes comments saying that America is not going to honor its NATO obligations, which would be extraordinarily dangerous, and then a couple of days later you have this DNC hack.”
The Atlantic magazine and the Washington Post have reported on Trump receiving loans and investment capital from wealthy Russians close to Vladimir Putin. Trump admitted he sold real estate to Russians, but denied they have any influence on him. After saying publicly he wanted Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton’s emails, Trump then said he was only joking.
Warner made a fortune in cell phones and high tech. In office, he’s made himself a congressional specialist in cyber-crime. Warner said the U.S. is extremely vulnerable. He cited FBI figures that say American companies lose a $130 billion a year to cyber-crime. But Warner said the current accusations, if true, are more serious, since they go beyond commerce.
“Candidly, I hope this accusation proves not to be true, because it would raise extraordinarily serious repercussions in terms of U.S.-Russian relations at a time when the world doesn’t need further controversy,” he added.
Republicans have said the DNC hack is a good example of why Clinton should not have kept a private email server when at the State Department. Warner said Clinton has said she would do things differently now. But he also said a lot of companies and government agencies with protected servers have been hacked, including the federal Office of Personnel Management.
“The OPM hack, when literally twenty million current and former federal employees had their information hacked, and we pretty much know that that was done by individuals in China. This is an area that we’re all going to have to be more vigilant,” he said.