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December 18th, 2014
06:39 PM ET

Congressman: Pulling "The Interview," "Team America" gives cyberterrorists a 'victory'

(CNN) - House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul says pulling movies, like "The Interview" and "Team America," from theaters gives the North Korean hackers a "victory."

"Sony and private movie theaters are free to make any choices that they think are necessary," Rep. McCaul told CNN's Jake Tapper. "However, I do think by pulling the movies they gave the North Koreans - and let's be honest where this threat came from - what they effectively did was give them a victory and gave them what they wanted to achieve, which was the pulling down of this movie. I hope at some point this movie will be shown and the intrigue over it will make it more of a money maker. But I think pulling it gave them exactly what they wanted."

U.S. officials are currently preparing to publicly blame North Korea for the massive cyberattack of Sony Pictures. In the wake of terror threats posed by the hackers, Sony Pictures indefinitely delayed "The Interview," canceling its scheduled Christmas day release. Some theaters were planning to show "Team America: World Police" instead, which also satires a North Korean leader, but Paramount Pictures abruptly pulled that 2004 film as well.

If North Korea is truly responsible as indicated by U.S. officials, the Republican Congressman tells CNN that the United States must swiftly respond, including by reinstating economic sanctions which had been lifted.

"We need to revisit those sanctions and we need to have a response to this because any time a state sponsor has an act of cyberterrorism against the United States and in our way of life– if there's no retaliation or response, there's no deterrent effect, " McCaul warned. "I think that's why it's so important that we have a response to this."

The Congressman also stressed the need for the U.S. to be prepared to respond to the increasing threat of cyberterrorism by rogue states.

"The fact is we live in a dangerous cyberwarfare now. It's kind of a new frontier, Jake, kind of the wild west. We've been hit by Iran, our financial sector, already. There have been attacks by Russia and China, espionage, stealing things," McCaul recalled. "We need to calculate what is an act of warfare in the cyberspace and what is the appropriate retaliation in the act of a cyberwarfare and I don't think that's clear right now. The rules of the game and the rules of warfare are not clear right now and is something, going into this next frontier, we need to more clearly define."

For more of our interview with Congressman McCaul, watch the video above.

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