Summary: The head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security confirms that Russia penetrated the U.S. voter systems.
A U.S. official said that Russians successfully hacked into voter registration rolls prior to the 2016 presidential election. In an exclusive with NBC News, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security said, “We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
Jeanette Manfra was responsible for protecting American elections from hacking. She said in 2016 she saw states being targetted but that she could not provide other details because of confidentiality.
The DHS Secretary at that time, Jeh Johnson, said that the Russian interference was a “wake-up call.”
“2016 was a wake-up call and now it’s incumbent upon states and the Feds to do something about it before our democracy is attacked again,” Johnson said. “We were able to determine that the scanning and probing of voter registration databases was coming from the Russian government.”
U.S. officials said that although they knew of targetting there was no evidence that registration rolls were altered.
In January of 2017, Johnson said that the U.S. electoral systems should be a priority for the government to protect. He said that electoral systems were “critical infrastructure,” and as vulnerable to outside attacks as power grids. He said that since the 2016 election he has noticed that states have done little to fortify their cybersecurity.
Manfra disagreed with Johnson’s statement and said that all states have taken the threat of hacking seriously.
George W. Bush said that there was clear evidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 election that President Donald Trump won against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system because democracy is only as good as the people trust in results,” Bush said, according to The Independent. “There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled. Whether they affected the outcome (of the election) is another question, but they meddled, and that’s dangerous for democracy.”
The American Intelligence community concluded that Russia intended to elect Trump, according to CNN; and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a probe into the matter. So far, he has indicted a few members of Trump’s inner circle, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Bush has been vocal about his worries about the current climate of the United States, and he said that foreign interference should not be tolerated.
“The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. Foreign aggressions, including cyber attacks, disinformation and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated,” Bush said, according to CNN.
Trump has denied colluding with the Russians to help get him elected.
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