U.S. states targeted by Russian hackers during 2016 election

Angie Massey
June 26, 2017

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Russian hackers "hit" systems in 39 states, and the Intercept, citing a classified intelligence document, reported that Russian military intelligence "executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November's presidential election". Despite the overwhelming consensus within the intelligence community, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he didn't know if Trump believed Russian Federation was behind the attacks.

"Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia", the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning.

Johnson was grilled about the Obama administration's hesitancy to comment on alleged Russian efforts, and he said that coming out publicly "might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process itself".

President Trump claimed in tweets on Thursday that last year's Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations is a hoax created by the Democratic Party. "Why didn't they stop them?", Trump asked.

"As of right now, we have evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted", Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, adding that there was no evidence to indicate that the cyberattack altered actual ballots, the BBC reported. "It's all a big Dem HOAX", he tweeted.

US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before a House hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on March 26, 2015.

While the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign has been known for months, it was the first time US officials have said how many states' electoral systems were targeted.

"The DNC has and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement on Russia's interference in our election", DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement responding to Trump's tweet.

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"The FBI and the DNC had been in contact with each other months before about the intrusion", Johnson said, "and the DNC did not feel it needed DHS' assistance at the time".

In March, James Comey, then the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, publicly announced that the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded in any way with Russian officials during the election.

"I recall clearly that I was not pleased that we were not in there helping patch this vulnerability", Johnson said.

He has said, however, that "patriotic" hackers might have carried out the attacks on the USA election.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked Priestap if he thought Trump had become an "unwitting agent" of Russian interests.

"It's about trying to make excuses for why Democrats lost", Sanders said.

Trump has called the Russian Federation probe a "witch hunt" on multiple occasions, but Robert Mueller continues to lead an investigation into whether or not Trump's campaign interfered with the election.

Other reports by GizPress

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