FOX "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript: North Korea Cyber Attack



Now, let's bring in the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers.

And, Chairman, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.


WALLACE: The FBI used very tough language to describe this hack attack. Let's put it up on screen. North Korea's attack on Sony pictures entertainment reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the greatest national security dangers to the United States.

Two questions: how serious was the attack? Do you regard this in a sense as an act of war?

ROGERS: Well, you can't necessarily say an act of war. We don't have good, clear policy guidance on what that means when it comes to cyberattacks, but let's back up this a minute. Russia attacked Estonia. We saw a disruptive cyberattack for nation-state purposes, Iran attacked Saudi Arabia, clearly a destruction on the Saudi Aramco, a company there, destroyed 30,000 computers, wiped and destroyed data.

We kept warning, those of us that have been paying attention to this, this is coming to the United States, probably sooner than later. What you saw was a nation-state who engaged in trying to really destroy an American company and then took it to the broader level of using threats of violence in order to get their political will. This was a nation-state attack on the United States, and saying aloha and getting on an airplane going to Hawaii is not the answer really the world needs, let alone America.

WALLACE: All right. Well, the president has promised there will be consequences. Here's what he had to say about that.


OBAMA: They caused a lot of damage and we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.


WALLACE: So, how tough should he get with North Korea?

ROGERS: Well, unfortunately, he's laid out a little bit of a playbook before we've done anything. That press conference should have been, here's the actions we took on -- excuse me -- North Korea's actions, and here's what we're going to continue to do.

Right now -- and trust me, our intelligence services, the folks who would be responsible for at least the first wave of trying to make sure they don't have the capability to do this again, were ready. They have the capability. They were ready to go.

The problem here was not the fact that we didn't have a capability to do something nearly in immediate time. We just didn't get a decision from the president of the United States.

WALLACE: But wait, sir, are you saying that we should launch a cyberattack to take out their cyber warfare capabilities?

ROGERS: I'm saying, if you're talking about a proportional attack, it should be at least proportional. The United States has the capability to make it very difficult for the North Koreans to do an attack like this anytime soon.

WALLACE: Take out their cyber infrastructure.

ROGERS: Well, I'll let you define what that looks like. They have the capability to do it.

Here's the problem. So, there is lots of discussions last week about what this looks like. Do you acknowledge -- do you not acknowledge, do you take an initial step and then acknowledge? By acknowledging it and then laying out to say, well, we're going to do something in the future, you have diminished the capabilities we can engage in this particular --

WALLACE: Why, because they can protect themselves?

ROGERS: Well, for a whole host of reasons I can't go into in detail. But you just limited your ability to do something. Just calling North Korea out isn't going to be enough. So, I would argue you're going to have to ramp up sanctions. It needs to be very serious and significant.

Remember, a nation-state was threatening violence. So, forget the fact that there was, you know, the Hollywood drama of this particular event. They went into a company and they used something called a wiper virus. They wiped out data.

So, if you're at home and thinking how does this affect me, this is Hollywood, you know, who cares? The problem is what if it's your car company that you work for? What if it's a bank that you work for? Or what if it's a bank that you have transactions with and that data is gone, it's destroyed?

Meaning, I don't know how much money I have in my bank and the bank can't tell me how much money I have in the bank. That's how serious this is.

WALLACE: What you're saying is they took cyber action against us. We need to take cyber action in retaliation against them.

ROGERS: Again, I'm not going to say exactly specifically, but I can tell you we have the capability to make this very difficult for them in the future, at least in the near term. But I don't think that's enough. This was a nation-state who attacked an American company and then threatened violence in that second order against people who would go to the movies.

Take the movie part out of it. This is the fact that they were willing to commit acts of violence or threaten acts of violence against U.S. citizens in the United States. That's a huge and significant problem. This is the country that tested nuclear weapons as late as last year.

WALLACE: OK. You talk about, you know, the effect this could have an all of us. The federal government is now banned from helping private companies build up stronger firewalls to prevent cyberattack. In fact, you sponsored a bill that passed the House last year that would have made it easier for the government to cooperate and deal with private companies to protect themselves against this kind of threat. It passed the House. It did not pass the Senate because privacy advocates were worried about more abuses from big brother, if you will, on the Internet.

Question -- did those privacy advocates in this new world that we've seen post-Sony, do they need to get over those concerns?

ROGERS: I think healthy concern is a good thing. We accommodated those concerns in the bill. That's why we got a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives on a bill that does simply this -- it allows the NSA and other agency who go overseas and collect malicious source code, that nasty stuff that hurt Sony, that could hurt your bank, that could hurt your job, bring it back, they protect the government networks but were prohibited from sharing that with the private sector.

Eighty-five percent of all the networks out there, Chris, are private sector networks, and contrary to popular belief, the NSA is not monitoring those 85 percent of the networks. They're private networks, which is why North Korea can attack a company like Sony. This would have allowed them to share malicious source code to protect themselves.

So, we built in all the protections for civil liberties. Again, this isn't about reading your e-mail. It's about stopping malicious source codes, zeros and ones in a configuration that do nasty things to your computer and your information and are highly disruptive.

WALLACE: There was a different kind of terror attack this week in Australia, an Iranian held 17 people hostage in a Sydney cafe for 16 hours before police finally stormed the place. And it reminded people of the lone gunman who attacked the Canadian parliament as well as the man in New York who attacked police there with a hostage.

How big a threat are lone wolves, and to you distinguish between the committed jihadist, one thinks immediately to somebody like Nidal Hassan at Ft. Hood, and some of these cases which seem to be deranged, sick individuals who kind of latch on to Islamic teachings as a kind of cause or a script?

ROGERS: Hard to argue you're not a deranged individual if you're willing to be inspired to chop someone's head off. I don't care if you're stable one day and not stable the particular day. Same with the other lone wolf candidates.

Here's the problem. Earlier in Australia, which really fundamentally changed the way we saw groups like ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh operate, they had people identified in Australia who were going to come to fight in Syria. They made a really significant change. They called back and said, no, don't come, got plenty of people coming. Stay in Australia, randomly kidnap people, chop their heads off, film it, and we'll use it for propaganda purposes. That is a fundamental change.

So if they're doing it in that case, you know they're pushing out this notion to inspire others to commit these acts. Canada, we've seen arrests in Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain. It's getting worse, not better.

WALLACE: Finally, let's discuss your committee's report, the House Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi, which as you know has gotten a lot of criticism, including from some commentators here on FOX News.

The committee found, and let's put this on the screen, that no evidence that there was -- that either a stand-down -- that there was either a stand-down order or a denial of available air support to prevent rescuing U.S. personnel.

Here are two security contractors who are at the CIA annex and say they were prevented from going to the consulate to rescue U.S. personnel there. Here they are speaking both before and after your report.


JOHN "TIG" TIEGEN, ANNEX SECURITY TEAM: I said, hey, you know, we've got to get over there, we're losing the initiative, you know? Bob looked at me and said, stand down, you need to wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel our words have not been recognized or used as validation for what took place that night. I don't know how you cannot use our words. There were eyewitnesses there.


WALLACE: They say there was a stand-down order, Chairman. Why don't you believe them?

ROGERS: Well, they were certainly clearly told to wait. Again, they acted very bravely that particular evening. But on sworn testimony, including people who have gone on TV, it's very clear that they went through the line of questioning of no stand-down order. They were told to wait, which was a tactical decision on behalf of the leader to get more information about when they should go and if they can get more arms to go.

And I argue that's very, different. I think this clear, bright line people have drawn, as well, there was either a stand-down order or not, in this particular case.

Now, remember, we interviewed contractors who are now public. We've also interviewed security contractors who are still working overseas who provided sworn testimony and witness testimony. And as a former FBI agent working bank robberies and bombings and other things, sometimes in a very high-adrenaline combat environment impact, people's version of events are a little bit different. The goal here was no piece of information could go forward if it wasn't substantiated or corroborated.

WALLACE: I want to ask you --

ROGERS: All of that was done in the report. And, by the way, the report was very narrow. This was not designed to be a huge end of the conclusion. There are serious questions yet to be answered.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about that because you've also been criticized for going easy on the administration talking points in which, among other things, Susan Rice came on this and four other Sunday talk shows and said that this was a spontaneous protest that went violent, it wasn't a planned terror attack. Your report says the process used to generate the talking points was flawed and mistakes were made in the process of how those talking points were developed.

Critics say that you're ignoring the fact or glossing over the fact that this was in effect political damage control in the midst of President Obama's re-election campaign.

ROGERS: Well, that part we wouldn't be able to get at because it was beyond the scope of the report. Now, that's what's I think unfortunate about this. Most of the people who are out publicly beating up the report have never read the report or they've never accessed the classified annex, which is an important part of why these conclusions were come to, and the classified evidence, including members even on the committee.

WALLACE: Let me ask you a quick question. Do you think this is political damage control by the Obama administration?

ROGERS: Well, what I believe and what the report -- I want to make very clear, two separate things.

WALLACE: I'm asking what you believe.

ROGERS: I do believe that the administration used this -- the way they tried to present the facts for their own political purposes. And I believe that in the State Department, we have very little answers on what happened in the State Department. Remember, my committee was only to do the laying of intelligence on the ground. So, our committee report only did the intelligent lane, didn't do the State Department, didn't do DOD, didn't do the White House --


WALLACE: But do you believe this was used for political advantage, political damage control?

ROGERS: I think -- it's hard for me not to come to that conclusion. Again, my report, the committee report, was only for the intelligence. I do believe that people in the State Department had not yet been held accountable, and I believe in expeditionary diplomacy. I believe in putting these folks in really tough circumstances.


WALLACE: Would say that people in the State Department haven't been held accountable, including Secretary of State Clinton?

ROGERS: Well, again, the investigation needs to determine that. That's where I think the select committee can get at. The State Department, which we had no answers -- no questions answered, and the White House itself and the National Security Council, we've had no question of --

WALLACE: You feel those are unresolved issues?

ROGERS: I do believe they're unresolved issues, yes.

WALLACE: Chairman Rogers, thank you. Thanks for coming in today. Merry Christmas, and good luck with your new career where you join us and you're going to become a radio talk show host. Good luck.

ROGERS: Thank you so much, Chris. And merry Christmas to you and your family.

WALLACE: Thank you.

ROGERS: We'll see you on the radio real soon.