Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said its up to policymakers to determine whether a nation’s attempt to influence U.S. election results is an “act of war,” before Congress Thursday.
Clapper’s response came from a pointed question by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain. “Whether or not that constitutes an act of war I think is a very heavy policy call that I don’t believe the intelligence community should make,” Clapper said.
He continued, “It certainly — would carry in my view great gravity.”
The U.S. government does not currently have a universal definition for what constitutes a cyber act of war. National security and military leaders have not typically considered espionage an act of war.
In this regard, Clapper continued, saying perhaps the U.S. shouldn’t throw stones in a glass house.
“We all do it,” he said, referring to cyber espionage operations.
“If we’re going to punish each other for acts of espionage, that’s a different policy question,” Clapper concluded later.
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