Dick Cheney: Russia's alleged interference 'an act of war'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney attends a Republican Party of Florida fundraising dinner in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney attends a Republican Party of Florida fundraising dinner in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.

NEW DELHI (AP) - Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has criticized Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election, calling it a hostile act.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a serious attempt to interfere in the 2016 election and other democratic processes in America, Cheney said.

"In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war," Cheney said in a speech Monday at a conference in New Delhi.

Cheney said the Cold War was long over but Putin is on a course to re-establish Russian power following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

"Putin has aspirations of trying to correct what he sees as a disaster. He has designs on the Baltics. He wanted Crimea and he took it. And he is trying to undermine NATO," Cheney said.

Russian cyber interference is "the kind of conduct and activity that we'll see going forward," he said.

But he also warned that Russia should not "underestimate the weight that we as Americans assign at Russia's attempts to interfere in our democratic processes."

Cheney's accusation comes at a time when both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees are investigating possible Russian interference in the election that brought President Donald Trump to power.

Among the other threats faced by the United States, Cheney listed an aggressive China, North Korea, Iran and the terror threat posed by the Islamic State group.

He described North Korea as the "most dangerous part of the world with an unpredictable head of government" who is developing nuclear warheads and missiles to add to his stockpile.

Cheney said these threats come at a time when the U.S. military is at a "significantly diminished level" following eight years of budget cuts under the Obama administration.

The U.S. budget debate in the coming weeks will focus on how to allocate more funds to rebuild the military and restore the relationships that the United States had with its allies and adversaries in the past, he said.

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