Richard Clarke: Retaliation Against Russia Could Lead to Cyber War

Is the 2016 election in danger of being hacked by Russia? Our expert panel weighs in on "This Week."
6:55 | 10/02/16

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Transcript for Richard Clarke: Retaliation Against Russia Could Lead to Cyber War
How far do you escalate? Let's talk about it with expert Richard Clarke, Adam Schiff, Julia ioffe and Gary kasparov. Let me begin with you and pick up with Pierre left off. Officials believe that Russia is behind it and they can't say because they are hay fred? They are afraid to kick off a cyber war where the U.S. Is afraid to retaliate. If we retaliate against Russia, we could get into a spiral that would be a cyber war. And the United States is so vulnerable to cyber attack, the white house doesn't want to start that. You and your colleagues have gotten briefings on the aggression action? I think it's more important to establish a deterrent. We have seen the tacking of the voter registration data bases and they have no foreign intelligence value. They are valuable if you are prepared to the cyber battlefield to make mischief in the elections. And I think the Russians respect one thing. That is strength. If they see an open door that is an invitation to do more. And we should work with alleys around the world who have been hacked by the Russians. You are shaking your head and saying that Vladimir Putin is waging a shadow year? Absolutely. And working for trump, I can tell you from my Russian and English books and Twitter, there are real hackers and there are so many soft targets. And in the report, you don't have to attack on the state level. You just go to the battleground states and municipalities. The hundreds of opportunities and all Putin has to do is create doubts about the validity of the action and give trump a chance. You say trying to help trump. Is it helping trump or hurting Hillary? I have heard it both ways? I think it's both and it's under mining faith in the western institutions and the stability of western democracy at large. What we saw in 2014 when we saw a kind of use of similar met trickal war fair. You don't have to do that much in to project a lot of power for Americans to start thinking, he has the power to swing whole elections, he is a powerful man. That gets to an important point. The actual individual voting systems are too diffused to change the outcome of an election but all you have do is create doubts about the legitimacy of the outcome. The voting itself with phony e-mails. They have already hacked and dumped real e-mails, and established they have real e-mails. The second dump, I expect in the next couple weeks, may have salted into thousands of real e-mails, forged or altered e-mails. How can you then prove they are forged in. Registration data bases. Someone wipes out 100,000 voters in Ohio or Florida, and that is enough just to create chaos across the country. Or people to say we saw what happened in Florida or Arizona, what else do we not know about? Have we not done the other meddli meddling? And you saw Vladimir Putin say that all the rumors were circulating about the advisers and hacking, he said publicly, I hope this is a reflection of Russia's power on the world stage. Naming and shaming is one option. Ma more can be done to protect the systems in the days and the weeks? I say that second Johnson to find out what are the best methods of protecting themselves. But just to under score what dick said, they will not be able to change the outcome. They will meddle with the voter registration data bases. What worries me and keeps me up at night is what they is done in Europe, the manipulation of data. If they have doctored thing, it would be hard to disprove the content of the fake e-mails. They have used that approach before and they can be election-al election-altering. Why would Vladimir Putin want trump to be in the oval office? A special rereport of the Boeing shot bli Russian missile. Putin needs not a friend but someone who acts as an agent of chaos and trump has said it's ideal for Putin to go after nato, you, to destroy institutions that are governoring for decades. These are the methods we have seen Putin use for over a decade inside Russia. Sowing doubt. Creating conspiracy theories. By the way, Russian television, kremlin owned, has been very clear from early in the primaries who they want to win. They have been very sympathetic to trump. And trump coming out in the debates saying could be Russia, could be China. Could be a 400 pound man. You have no doubt this is Russia. I have no doubt. It's not a question of evidence. It's a question of the administration, do they do more than name and shame? What are they playing into the Russian hands sowing doubt? But the fact is the Americans already see the meddling and it would be far worse if there is a problem with the the election and the administration tells the American people question, they are doing it and we knew it all along. What would you be recommending? I recommend that we try to work with the the states. There are a couple states that don't have paper ballots. They have machines where you push a button and that's it. There is no paper record. We need something with a backup. So afterwards, we can count paper votes. Okay, thank you. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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