Russians targeted 21 election systems, US official says

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Russians targeted 21 election systems, US official says

Fmr. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday about Russian election interference.

Liles was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and his remarks add some clarity to the breadth of the Kremlin's cyber mischief.

"I'm actually disputing it somewhat, because I talked to Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the hearing, and she basically said no one came to her", the California Democrat told Jake Tapper on CNN.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee received the information amid growing concerns on Capitol Hill about the possibility of foreign interference in future electoral processes. But that statement he said "did not get the attention it should have", because of the release of the Access Hollywood tape that day - in which then-candidate Trump boasted of groping and kissing women.

Due to states' reaction, Johnson initially let the idea go and instead tried to urge states to voluntarily accept DHS help to shore up their systems; the critical infrastructure designations were eventually ordered by Johnson in January and continued by current DHS Secretary John Kelly.

Johnson said he was disappointed the DNC would not accept Homeland Security's help in finding its cyber-vulnerabilities.

She said the calls occurred on August 15, September 8 and October 12. That decision received some pushback from people who were concerned about a federal take over of elections, which are traditionally run by states. It wasn't until after the election, that Johnson formally made the designation.

Johnson suggested that in the aftermath of the hacking, the federal government should "encourage a uniform set of minimum standards for cybersecurity when it comes to state elections system and voter registration databases".

"I was anxious to know whether our folks were in there", Johnson said.

According to the Washington Examiner, the outgoing DHS chief did not want it to appear as though his department may be favoring Hillary Clinton during the election process, especially given the allegations by Mr. Trump that there would be some form of interference in the election.

The Senate intelligence committee plans a hearing on the same election issues with current Federal Bureau of Investigation, homeland security and state election officials.

The hearing featured two panels and focused closely on Russia's cyber efforts against our election systems in 2016, our response efforts, potential threats to our 2018 and 2020 elections, and how we are postured to protect against those threats.

A second DHS official, Acting Director of Undersecretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate Jeanette Manfra, backed up Liles' testimony.

But though the government disclosed that 21 states were potentially impacted by the targeting, lawmakers were left frustrated that the public still doesn't have a full picture of what exactly the Russians did during the election and that it's not fully clear what the U.S. will do to protect itself going forward.

Her admission nevertheless marked the first time the Trump administration has publicly detailed the extent of Russia's attempt to interfere in last year's election.

"I can't really comment", Priestap said after a pause.

"I do not believe our country is made safer by holding this information back from the American public", he said.

The committee's chairmen, Republican Sen.

"I think you could argue they've achieved quite a bit because if you look at the amount of time we've spent in this country on what happened and if you look at the political fissures that formed".

Rubio told a story about seeing a fake story that said President Obama had "banned" the Pledge of Allegiance - and getting text messages asking him about it.

It's been said many times, but witnesses reiterated they have no doubt that Russian Federation itself was behind efforts to intervene in the United States election and were also very confident that no votes were changed in the process.

"The key lesson from 2016 is that hacking threats are real", summed up J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of MI and a cybersecurity expert.

Election officials insist this is a highly unlikely scenario, and that they have multiple layers of security in place to detect and prevent unauthorized intrusions.

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