John McCain warns Russia hacking is a sign of the "unraveling" of the "world order" and can "destroy democracy"

Sen. McCain wants what Senate Majority Leader McConnell doesn't — a special committee on Russian hacking

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 19, 2016 2:40PM (EST)


Sen. John McCain, Republican from Arizona, is warning Americans that Russia's hacking of the 2016 presidential election threatens to "destroy democracy" and called for a select committee to investigate the CIA's findings.

"This is the sign of a possible unraveling of the world order that was established after World War II, which has made one of the most peaceful periods in the history of the world," McCain told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "We're starting to see the strains and the unraveling of it, and that is because of the absolute failure of American leadership."

Although both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said they only want investigations to be performed through existing Senate and House committees, McCain is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which gives him special clout when dealing with national security issues.

"Cyber is the rare kind of all-encompassing challenge for which the Congress's jurisdictional boundaries are an impediment to sufficient oversight and legislative action," McCain wrote to McConnell in a public letter on Sunday that was co-signed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, as well as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both Democrats.

"Only a select committee that is time-limited, cross-jurisdictional, and purpose-driven can address the challenge of cyber," the letter says. "We believe it is justified by the extraordinary scope and scale of the cyber problem."

McCain reiterated this point in his interview with Tapper.

"The responsibilities for cyber is spread over about four different committees in the Senate, and each doing their own thing, frankly, is not going to be the most efficient way of arriving at a conclusion," McCain said.

"We need a select committee. We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out exactly what was done and what the implications of the attacks were, especially if they had an effect on our election," McCain later added.

Although McCain says that "there's no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was a cyber-attack," President-elect Donald Trump continues to dispute the CIA's allegations. Last week his transition team issued a statement challenging the CIA's credibility by arguing that "these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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