Sen Mark Warner Calls Out DHS for Withholding Details on State Election Hack
Some bombshell testimony this morning before the House Intelligence Committee:
FLAG: DHS on Russian interference: "We have evidence of 21 states, election-related systems in 21 states, that were targeted." pic.twitter.com/CKuDrsazSh
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 21, 2017
A question that begs: why did we hear so little about this?
Jeh Johnson on Obama not addressing Russia more: "We were very concerned that we not be perceived in taking sides in the election." pic.twitter.com/io8Yx4qAo3
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 21, 2017
That’s Obama-always Mr. Post Partisanship to a fault.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) June 21, 2017
To be sure, if Obama should ask himself if he could have done more, Mitch McConnell should truly be ashamed of himself-but of course, has no sense of shame. He had refused to join with Obama in making a bipartisan statement.
The criticism of Obama is he should have made it anyway when McConnell showed his own bad faith.
“Sen. Mark Warner tore into DHS Wednesday for not revealing which states Russian hackers targeted during the 2016 election, warning that its silence was making the nation less secure for upcoming elections.”
The department’s decision to keep “secret” the number of states that were attacked is “just crazy in mind,” Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said during a Wednesday hearing.
“The Virginia lawmaker’s remarks come on the heels of a media report that 39 states suffered intrusions into their voter databases and software systems during the election. To-date, though, only two states — Arizona and Illinois — are publicly known.”
“That makes absolutely no sense,” said Warner, who sent a letter to DHS chief John Kelly on Tuesday demanding the agency release all of the information about the breaches.
“If the government doesn’t “tell the public how many states were attacked, or potentially how many could be attacked in the next cycle, I don’t think we get to where we need to be” in protecting the election system for the 2018 and 2020 elections, Warner added.”
“Jeanette Manfra, DHS’ acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications, told the panel that 21 states were targeted during the election-year, reiterating information the agency released in October.”
“But Manfra declined to offer the names of those states, or any specifics about the attacks.”
“She argued that the agency wants to protect “the information around that victim,” something it does for all sectors deemed to be critical infrastructure — like hospitals or the power grid. DHS slapped the critical infrastructure label on the electoral system in January.”
“Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, also told lawmakers that the bureau has “a number of investigations open” into state-level hacking attempts during the election.”
“We continue to learn things,” he added, but declined to commit to making those findings public.”
All well and good but there is also a public right to know.
“Burr also vowed to bring in the FBI for a closed-door briefing with the panel on the open investigations into state-level hacking. The Intelligence Committee has been investigating the scope of Russia’s alleged digital meddling campaign during the election.”
Once that investigation is done, Burr said, he would declassify as much information as possible so the “public gets a true understanding.”
“Warner stressed that such public disclosures were critical.”
“We are not making our country safer if we don’t make sure that all Americans understand the breadth and extent of what the Russians did in 2016,” he said, “and frankly, if we don’t get our act together, what they will do in an even more dramatic form in 2018 and 2020.”
“Also, Jeh Johnson testified that the DNC did not ‘feel it wanted DHS help.’
“Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday the Democratic National Committee “did not feel it needed” the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security following last year’s election hack, which U.S. officials have since attributed to Russia.”
“Sometime in 2016 I became aware of a hack into systems of the Democratic National Committee,” Johnson said in prepared testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. “I pressed my staff to know whether DHS was sufficiently proactive, and on the scene helping the DNC identify the intruders and patch vulnerabilities. The answer, to the best of my recollection, was not reassuring.”
“The FBI and the DNC had been in contact with each other months before about the intrusion,” he continued, “and the DNC did not feel it needed DHS’s assistance at that time.”
Jeh Johnson on why they didn’t alert the public:
Johnson faced questions from the intelligence panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, over why the Obama administration waited until October to inform the public about Russia’s cyber campaign.
“This was a big decision, and there were a lot of considerations that went into it,” Johnson responded. “This was an unprecedented step.”
“He said the administration was concerned about being criticized for trying to influence the election, especially given that Trump was calling the election process “rigged.”
“He also noted that when the administration finally did decide to issue its statement about the hacking — on Oct. 7 — that it got overshadowed because that was the same day the news broke of the “Access Hollywood” video from 11 years earlier in which Trump bragged about groping women.”
“Schiff then asked why President Barack Obama did not do more to draw attention to the issue of Russia’s cyber campaign.”
“You shouldn’t view the Oct. 7 statement in isolation,” Johnson responded. “This was an ongoing effort to inform the public.”
All I know is that the outcome was that the public got endless, painstaking reporting on Emailgate and heard next to nothing about Russia before the election.
That was a real failure. Where the blame resides, is probably to be spread around. Much less for Obama and his WH though perhaps some.
P.S. So the Gravis poll against Peter King NY2 and it has good news-almost too good to believe.
In my March poll I trailed King by 11 and thought that was very good news. Now Gravis has me up by 10? Still, the moment of truth is next week when Gravis writes up the press release.
I can use any help I can get at this point-volunteers or supporters who live in NY 2. Donations whatever your zip code. These days we can’t just support a local Dem we need a Dem Congress. Which is why I’ve donated few hundred to Jon Ossoff.
Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House-$5 or $10 can do so much.
If you feel that you can’t I, of course, understand-who is rich these days? But please do me one favor: ask yourself privately, mentally, if you really can’t spare $5 dollars. If you can honestly say you can’t, no worries.
We can have a Dem Congress, we must have a Dem Cogress, and we will.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.