OTR Interviews

Russia and North Korea: America's enemies teaming up?

Russia blasts the U.S. for threatening retaliation against North Korea for the cyber attack on Sony.

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 26, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, 'ON THE RECORD' GUEST HOST: It looks like Russia is on team North Korea when it comes to the Sony movie controversy. The Russian foreign ministry spokesman blasting the U.S. for threatening revenge for the cyber attack and saying North Korea's anger is, quote, "quite understandable".

And former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joins us to weigh in and go ON THE RECORD. Ambassador, thanks for being with us tonight.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Glad to be with you, Kimberly.

GUILFOYLE: So, what do you think about this turn of events?

BOLTON: Well, I think it's always good fun in Moscow to be able to poke the United States in the eye. This is obviously something that the Russians are going to try to make use of for their own political purposes.

I think there are deeper questions here as well, and where we don't know the answer. Did, in fact, Russian computer scientists in some way aid North Korea? Are they part of a larger North Korean cyber warfare program? Are they simply benefit guilty from watching how the United States responds to this?

I think a lot of questions about Russia and China while we are on the subject remain to be answered.

GUILFOYLE: And when you talk about it, Russia is really kind of in the driver's seat in so many ways and looking and watching to see how we react. What steps we take. This really has far reaching international implications because of all the players involved. Russia, China, United States, North Korea, everybody watching like chess moves.

BOLTON: Right. That's why I think simply dismissing this as vandalism or kind of a low grade kind of problem is potentially a mistake. Obviously a lot we don't know in the public domain. It seems to me if the FBI is right and they said North Korea was responsible for this attack, we need to treat it very seriously, because it's not just an attack on the movie industry. Which is maybe the least important of our industries, but it's something that I think exposes the risks that our private sector now faces from cyber attacks, the risks of disruption and finance, communications, power, aerospace and defense.

And I think the United States needs to respond more than pro-partially as President Obama said. I think we need to be thinking about creating structures of deterrence not just against North Korea.

GUILFOYLE: What do you suggest?

BOLTON: Well, in the case of North Korea, we have apparently already disrupted what passes for their Internet system. It's laughably small. I think it's -- North Koreas is engaged here in a symmetric warfare against us. We need to turn the tables on them, put them back on the list of state terrorists, really enforce the existing financial sanctions we have got against them, work with others to do the same, and I think demonstrate whatever way we can politically and through other cyber techniques and sanctions that we are not going to tolerate this. Signal we have to send goes beyond North Korea, it is to Russia and China and others don't do this to us.

GUILFOYLE: What kind of conversation should we be having with China and Russia in light of these events?

BOLTON: Well, I think right now, we need to be telling them that we understand they have their own significant cyber warfare capability and that we expect them to watch what we do to North Korea and not be coming after us the way they have.

I'm afraid, though, despite the best efforts at NSA and elsewhere in our government, we are way behind where we need to be both in terms of defense and offense. And, you know, in the cyber world as in other aspects, they are really mirror images of one another. We need more defenses both in government and in the private sector. We need a far greater willingness to use cyber warfare against those that might think about attacking us.

GUILFOYLE: Well it, sounds like we are going to have to do some restructuring within our departments of intelligence, et cetera, to maybe devote more resources, manpower, and dollars because this is the wave of terror in the future and we need to get ahead of it instead of be behind it.

I agree with you, Ambassador. Thank you for your time tonight.

BOLTON: Thank you, Kimberly.