Home / News / ‘This is a very genuine threat’: Top comprehension officials lay out blunt case on Russian hacking as Trump again casts doubt

‘This is a very genuine threat’: Top comprehension officials lay out blunt case on Russian hacking as Trump again casts doubt


jeh johnson
Jeh
Johnson, the former secretary of homeland
security.

Aaron P.
Bernstein/Reuters


Current and former officials pronounced in testimony before the
congressional comprehension committees on Wednesday that Russian
hackers infiltrated election systems in at slightest 21 states
heading up to Election Day in a “well-planned, well-coordinated”
campaign destined by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The overlapping House and Senate hearings were held amid
questions about President Donald Trump’s position on Russia’s
election division and either he believes it
occurred at all.

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence
Committee progressing this month that Trump asked about the Russia
review only with courtesy to how it
influenced him privately rather than how it influenced US
inhabitant security. And The New York Times reported that Trump —
who has called the review a “fake” try by Democrats to
clear their better — was doubt either Russia was behind
the hacks as late as Mar in conversations with intelligence
chiefs.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not yield a
decisive answer Tuesday when asked either Trump believed
Russia interfered in the election, revelation reporters that he had
not “sat down” with Trump and asked him about it given he took
bureau 5 months ago.

There were many questions the witnesses — including former
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and one of the FBI’s top
counterintelligence officials, Bill Priestap — could not answer
since of restrictions on disclosing personal information in
an open setting. But they were undeniable on one point:
Americans should have no doubt that Russia meddled in the
election.

When asked how the comprehension village had dynamic Russia
was behind the hacks, Johnson told the House Intelligence
Committee that he could not get into specifics since it would
need describing supportive sources and methods. But he pronounced the
comprehension he saw showed that Moscow was obliged “beyond a
reasonable doubt.” He also forked to Putin as the person who had
systematic the meddling.

At the Senate cabinet hearing, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin
asked Priestap and DHS officials Sam Liles and Jeanette Manfra
either there was “an American right now who should have a
reasonable doubt” that Russia interfered. They all replied that
there was no reason to doubt that conclusion.

Priestap told the cabinet that Russia had conducted operations
targeting US elections “for years,” but that nothing had been equal
to its efforts in 2016.

“The scale and aggressiveness” of the division “made this
time different,” Priestap said.

At slightest 21 states targeted

Manfra, a top central in the DHS’s National Protection and
Programs Directorate, pronounced Russian hackers targeted election
systems in at slightest 21 states last year. The hackers probed
election infrastructure and successfully infiltrated a “small
series of networks,” pronounced Liles, the DHS’s top cyber official.

The hackers stole voter-data information, which they could then
use “in a accumulation of ways,” Priestap said, including to affect
future elections, aim particular voters, and establish whether
the information is something they can manipulate going forward.

Bloomberg reported last week that as many as 39 states were
targeted. But Illinois and Arizona are the only states so distant to
have publicly reliable their voter systems were attacked. That
has undone Sen. Mark Warner, the clamp authority of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, who has been pulling for DHS to make
open a list of targeted states.

“How are we done safer by gripping the temperament of those states a
secret from the public?” Warner said.

In Illinois, the Russians seemed to be rummaging for sensitive
information on voters. Hackers gained entrance to the state’s voter
database, which contained information such as the names,
birthdates, driver’s licenses, and prejudiced Social Security
numbers of 15 million people, according to Bloomberg.

And according to a top-secret
National Security Agency request leaked to the
Intercept and published progressing this month, hackers
compared with Russia’s military comprehension group targeted a
company with information on US voting program days before the
election and used the information to launch “voter-registration-themed”
cyberattacks on internal supervision officials.

Johnson told the House cabinet that states’ election systems
were “very vulnerable” and that was since he pushed to designate
them as vicious infrastructure during the election. States were
primarily heedful of usurpation sovereign help in fending off
cyberattacks but corralled around the DHS as Election Day grew
closer.

“This is not just an educational exercise,” Johnson said. “This is a
very genuine threat.”

Alex Halderman, a highbrow of mechanism scholarship and engineering
at the University of Michigan, put it bluntly.

“I know America’s voting systems are exposed since my
colleagues and we have hacked them,” he told the Senate committee.
“Repeatedly.”

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