After two Chinese nationals were charged with stealing information from U.S. companies and government agencies, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs suggested that Chinese cyberattacks were serious enough to start a war over, according to Mediaite.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the hacks a "very real threat to the economic competitiveness of companies in the United States and around the globe," but Dobbs thinks the alleged crimes warrant a stronger response than a harsh statement.
"Neither a Republican nor a Democratic presidential administration has done a damn thing about it," Dobbs said of Chinese hacking efforts.
"Hell, I can't understand why we wouldn't go to war over this kind of monstrous theft," Dobbs said.
Later in the conversation, Dobbs took things up a notch:
"Frankly, I don't understand this," Dobbs said. "Absent casualties and that is killed and wounded, this is no different than Pearl Harbor. I mean, we are watching the destruction of hundreds of thousands, hundreds of millions and billions of dollars every year."
Lou Dobbs Tonight 12/20/18 - Lou Dobbs Fox News December 20, 2018 youtu.be
The panelists on the show at the time (Dean Cheng, Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow, and Morgan Wright, a cybersecurity expert) did not directly address Dobbs' rhetoric on the hacking, and both pointed to escalating penalties against cybersecurity violators as evidence the U.S. is taking the threats seriously.
According to CNBC, Department of Justice indictments are "part of a 'naming and shaming' campaign" to hold China accountable. The U.S. was expected to impose financial sanctions on China in response to the cyberattacks, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly blocked them.
Some analysts doubt that simply indicting and condemning Chinese hackers isn't enough.
"Just as when the Obama administration did it, indicting a handful of Chinese agents out of tens of thousands involved in economic espionage is necessary but not important, said American Enterprise Institute China analyst Derek Scissors, according to The Washington Post. "International denouncements may irritate [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping], but they place no real pressure on him."