Warner presses DHS to disclose information on election hacks in 2016

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today pressed the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly to disclose additional information on the full scope of foreign attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections by hacking into, or attempting to target, state and local election systems.

mark warnerThe letter comes one day ahead of an open hearing of the Intelligence Committee on the same topic.

“While I am not aware of evidence that the 2016 voting process itself was subjected to manipulation, and have no reason to doubt the validity of the election results, we know that the DHS and FBI have confirmed two intrusions into voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois by foreign-based hackers, though no data was modified or deleted.  At the same time, there was suspicious activity aimed at the election databases of multiple other states,” wrote Vice Chairman Warner in a letter to Secretary Kelly.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 21 at 9:30 AM, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing on “U.S. Election Security: Russian Interventions and the Outlook for 2018 and Beyond.” The hearing will feature two panels focusing on Russia’s cyber efforts against our election systems in 2016, American response efforts, potential threats to the 2018 and 2020 elections, and how we are postured to protect against those threats.  The first panel will include expert witnesses from DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the second panel will include witnesses from the Illinois State Board of Elections, the National Association of State Election Directors, and an expert on election security.

Wrote the Vice Chairman in today’s letter, “Overall, the breadth and scope of the 2016 intrusion attempts underscore the intention of the Russian government to undermine confidence in our election systems. I strongly believe that the answer to such efforts to interfere in our elections is to harden our cyber defenses and to thoroughly educate the American public about the danger posed by these attacks. I therefore urge you to work closely with state and local election officials to disclose publicly which states were targeted, to ensure that they are fully aware of the threat, and to make certain that their cyber defenses are able to neutralize this danger. We are not made safer by keeping the scope and breadth of these attacks secret.”

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