Graham suspects China in Sony attack

By Jeremy Diamond, CNN

updated 8:44 AM EST, Mon December 29, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Graham said he believes China was involved or knew about North Korea’s cyberattack
  • Graham gave Obama a rare kudos on his handling of the Sony hack
  • Guantanamo should be closed, Graham says, but terror suspects should remain in military prisons

Washington (CNN) — Sen. Lindsey Graham hinted at China’s involvement in the North Korean cyberattack on Sony Pictures and called for additional U.S. action against North Korea to make the hermit kingdom “feel the pain that is due.”

“I can’t imagine anything this massive happening in North Korea without China being involved or at least knowing about it,” Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

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Graham called for more sanctions against the regime and said President Barack Obama should put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, something Obama is currently reviewing.

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The Republican senator gave Obama rare kudos for the President’s handling of the North Korean affair so far.

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“So far so good, Mr. President,” Graham said, despite adding that Obama should have labeled the attack as cyberterrorism and not “cybervandalism,” as Obama called the hack in a CNN interview last week.

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“What’s happened here it shows how exposed we are in America to cyberattack,” Graham said. “If North Korea can do this to a major corporation in America, what can other people do to our country.”

The FBI determined that North Korea was behind the attack on Sony Pictures amid plans to release “The Interview,” a movie about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The FBI added that it did not suspect any other country was involved in the attack.

Graham did criticize Obama’s leadership of the U.S.’s prison at Guantanamo Bay. While Graham supports Obama’s vow to close the detention facility, the Senate Armed Services Committee member said he doesn’t want the U.S. to release terror suspects held at the facility.

Instead, Graham wants the detainees transferred to a military prison in the U.S., where many would continue to be held indefinitely without trial “under the laws of war.” More than 100 prisoners have been released from Guantanamo after a top U.S. task force deemed them low-level threats to the U.S.

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“I don’t think there’s any appetite in Congress to close Guantanamo Bay. I think the American people want to keep it open,” Graham said. “Most people in the world are more worried about terrorists leaving Guantanamo Bay than they are the prison being open.”

The U.S. released 10 detainees in the last month and hopes to transfer dozens more in the next six months as Obama looks to close Guantanamo in the last two years of his presidency.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

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