Sen. Warner Wants More Info on Election Cybersecurity

Claudine Rigal
Juin 21, 2017

U.S. Senator Mark Warner wants to know more about foreign attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote a letter addressed to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, urging a full and public disclosure on the foreign attempts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election. Warner also noted "suspicious activity" aimed that the election databases in several other states.

Warner's letter precedes an Intelligence Committee open hearing on the topic "U.S. Election Security: Russian interventions and the Outlook for 2018 and Beyond" that is to take place Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. A full disclosure to the public, according to Warner's letter, will help to neutralize the threats these attacks pose.

He cites concerns due to upcoming elections in Virginia, such as the governor's race.

"I am deeply concerned about the danger of future foreign interference in our elections", Warner wrote. A January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment concluded that Russian Federation obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state and local electoral boards.

"So far, only two states, IL and Arizona, have in effect come forward and acknowledge that the Russians tried to hacked them. I want to make sure that the integrity of our election system is safe from hacking and I'm not sure we're fully prepared", Warner said. In a related development, 198 million voter registration records maintained by a data analytics company aligned with the Republican Party, which attempted to predict which messages would most likely appeal to voters, were recently found to be exposed to the internet (see 198 Million US Voter Records Left Online For Two Weeks).

"We have elections obviously this year in Virginia".

At the Justice Department, a team headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller is investigating alleged Russian attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election, in part via hacking and online propaganda, and any ties it might have to the campaign of Donald Trump.

Warner argues that boosting cyber defenses and educating the public about the dangers of such hacks are paramount.

Additionally, I appreciate that your Department designated the nation's election infrastructure as "critical infrastructure" in January, to allow for better information sharing with, and the prioritization of cybersecurity assistance to, state and local jurisdictions.

I look forward to your response.

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