Warning there is no ''cyber doctrine'' in the ''era of hybrid warfare,'' Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Newsmax on Wednesday that he fears a ''rapid escalation'' if Russian President Vladimir Putin responds to economic sanctions with cyber attacks on the U.S.
''What makes cyberwarfare so dangerous: No one's ever fought a cyberwar,'' Rubio said on ''Spicer & Co.'' ''We've had cyber skirmishes and cyber attacks.
''It's not a precise weapon. So you might think you're shutting down the power grid in some small city in America, but you end up hitting a hospital system or something else, and the impacts are much greater than you thought they would be. And that begins the cycle of real nasty escalation that could get messy really fast.''
Rubio has asked in classified briefings for the U.S. ''escalation ladder,'' and declined to reveal classified Biden administration response plans to co-hosts Lyndsay Keith and Sean Spicer.
''I've asked that; I can't tell you what their answer was, obviously, because it's classified,'' Rubio said. ''Suffice it to say that I would imagine that an attack would be met by some proportionate response in the same realm and that cycle can continue going back and forth for some time.
''And my concern is that it escalates very rapidly into something much more serious. It's one of those things that I really think we need to think about very soberly, because it's a road no one's ever been down. There is no cyber doctrine.''
Rubio suggested that cyber responses can eventually ''run out of options,'' leading to ''kinetic'' and military action, where it might have never been intended to go.
''We know what happens if you launch an ICBM against the United States,'' Rubio continued. ''We know what happens if a Russian bomber intrudes on our airspace. No one knows what happens if you inadvertently poison the water system of a small municipality in the United States and 100 people go to the hospital and 20 of them die.
''I'm not saying that's what's going to happen. I'm saying no one knows what happens when you do that. And how do you respond to it? And that doctrine just hasn't been established. There is no understanding about it.''
Ultimately, Rubio asserted, this has been made inevitable by President Joe Biden for ''waging war on oil and natural gas'' in the U.S.
''I don't know about get out of it: This was going to impact us even if we ignored it completely,'' Rubio said. ''And part of it is because Joe Biden is waging war on oil and natural gas in the United States. And so what that's done is it's made oil and natural gas from Russia much more valuable, right.
''The price of oil and gas goes up. It's one of the things that's contributing to Putin doing what he's doing right now. By the way, Ukraine doesn't have a lot of natural gas, but they've got the third- or fourth-largest reserves in all of Europe, sitting there untapped in the very area that he's trying to take over right now, so I do think it's going to impact us in terms of energy prices,'' he said.
Energy costs, he said, are ''already high. Don't let the Biden people tell you that Ukraine is the reason why you're paying $3.75 for a gallon of gas. It may be the reason why you're paying $4.01, but we could have prevented some of that if the U.S. were producing oil and natural gas, and he's basically raging war against those industries, canceling Keystone [XL pipeline], not allowing any federal leases or new exploration to go on.''
Rubio concluded that despite the potential for retaliation and escalations, the U.S. has to check Putin's aggression in Ukraine, or else more invasions will come, including from Iran and China.
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