Cheney: Russia's efforts to sway US election could be 'act of war'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Russia's efforts to sway the recent U.S. presidential election could be viewed by some as "an act of war."

He made the comments during a part of his speech at the Economic Times' Global Business Summit Monday where he talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's "cyber warfare, cyberattacks on the United States."

"There's no question there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes," he said during his remarks. "In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war."

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"I think it's a kind of conduct and activity we'll see going forward. We know he's attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics," he added. "I would not underestimate the weight that we as Americans assign to the Russian attempts to interfere with our internal political processes."

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok, Russia, September 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon her arrival at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon her arrival at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit Leaders' Retreat Two with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) and Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang in Vladivostok September 9, 2012, REUTERS/Jim Watson/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (R) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meet at the presidential residence Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, March 19, 2010. Russia on Friday said that Iran was letting the opportunity for dialogue with the international community slip away and warned that the Islamic Republic could face new sanctions. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool/Alexei Nikolsky (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) outside Moscow in Novo-Ogarevo on March 19, 2010. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and used the occasion to bemoan Moscow's stalled WTO application and the state of bilateral trade. Russia, the world's largest economy outside the global trade body, has repeatedly accused Washington of hindering its efforts to join the World Trade Organization in talks that have dragged on since 1993. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / POOL / ALEXEY NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during a pull aside before the official dinner for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok on September 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok on September 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/RIA NOVOSTI/POOL/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/GettyImages)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) listens to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Russia's far eastern port city Vladivostok on September 8, 2012. Australian AFP PHOTO / POOL (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL METZEL/AFP/GettyImages)
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Some Democratic lawmakers have also described Russia's activities as a form of warfare, particularly after FBI Director James Comey admitted that the bureau was investigating ties between the country and associates of President Trump.

That includes liberal stalwart Rep. Jackie Speier, a liberal stalwart from California who said recently, "I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare."

But, cyber expert Michael Schmitt told the Washington Post that Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election would likely not be considered an act of war.

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"[The possible interference] is not an initiation of armed conflict," he said. "It's not a violation of the U.N. Charter's prohibition on the use of force. It's not a situation that would allow the U.S. to respond in self-defense militarily."

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