Sony Hack Response May Have Inspired Russia's Election Antics Says Intelligence Committee Leader

The skyscrapers of the Moscow International Business Center in Russia photographed on Oct. 28, 2014.
Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The skyscrapers of the Moscow International Business Center in Russia photographed on Oct. 28, 2014. 

A senior member of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the government's less-than-robust response to the Sony cyberattack in 2014 may have emboldened Russian hackers to disrupt this year's election. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) suggested that the Obama administration should have done more besides publicly blaming North Korea for the hack, tied to the film The Interview, which satirized North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

"Russia may have concluded that they could hack American institutions and there’d be no price to pay," Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the powerful committee, said at a press event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Russia has largely been blamed for this year's hacking of various Democratic party institutions, including the DNC and the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager. The daily drip of bad news, precipitated by leaks published on WikiLeaks, which were in turn picked up by mainstream media outlets, is seen as a factor in Clinton's loss to Donald Trump.

Democrats and some Republicans have called for investigations into the leaks, and Schiff joined others on Tuesday in a letter to President Obama asking the administration to brief members of Congress on Russia's efforts to interfere in the elections. Schiff also backs a proposed bipartisan committee to combat Russian efforts. "Unless we establish some kind of deterrent, this is going to be unending," he said.

The "Sony Hack" exposed personal data -- including SSN's -- of thousands of past and present staffers, as well as film budgets, financial figures and thousands of emails from executives. The data breach, the worst in Hollywood history, was followed by co-chairman Amy Pascal's exit and a class action lawsuit from former employees. The U.S. government blamed the North Korean government for the hack. Like this year's election-related hacks, the Sony emails were cataloged by WikiLeaks.