John McCain (L), chairman of U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee, attends a hearing on cyber threats to the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, Jan. 5, 2017. McCain on Thursday vowed to take actions in response to Russia's alleged cyber attacks during last year's presidential election. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- John McCain, chairman of U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee, on Thursday vowed to take actions in response to Russia's alleged cyber attacks during last year's presidential election. "Every American should be alarmed by Russia's attacks on our nation," McCain said in a Senate hearing on cyber threats to the U.S., calling Moscow's action "unprecedented attack on our democracy".
U.S. intelligence had concluded that the hack and release of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton staff emails was ordered by the Kremlin and was designed to put Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Moscow also denied the accusations.
"There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference," McCain said.
The senior senator called on Congress to set partisanship aside and work together to "deter, defend against and when necessary, respond to foreign cyber attacks" .
The hearing on Thursday brought together top U.S. intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre and NSA and U.S. Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers.
Clapper reiterated the U.S. accusation that Moscow orchestrated the cyber attacks, saying Russia poses "an existential threat to the United States."
"I don't think that we have ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process," Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the findings that Russia has intervened in the 2016 presidential election. He has quoted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to voice new doubt about the hacking claim made by U.S. intelligence agencies.
At the hearing, asked if Assange has credibility on the issue, Clapped said, "Not in my view" .
Thursday's hearing comes a day before Trump is scheduled to receive a briefing by the top intelligence officials on the investigation into Russia's alleged hacking efforts.