Add this to your file on “The Russian government tried to destroy the election integrity of the United States last year.”
A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed in a Wednesday Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that they have evidence Russian-backed hackers targeted election systems in 21 states.
That public comment from the DHS’s acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications, Jeanette Manfra, was the first of its kind.
It’s unclear which 21 states she was referring to, as Manfra said she wasn’t at liberty to elaborate.
Bloomberg previously reported that 39 state election systems were targeted by hackers associated with the Kremlin.
Despite the scope of the attack, no officials believe voting tallies were altered. Ballot machines are, by design, not easy things to hack.
Instead, hackers went after voter registration information. Bill Priestap, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in Washington, D.C., testified that he thinks the hackers took voter registration information so they might have a better understanding of the data.
Though the Russian government wasn’t able to meddle with vote tallies, Priestap said they tried to mess with the U.S.’s election integrity by weighting the process in favor of President Donald Trump over rival Hillary Clinton. Priestap, asked if the president had acted as an “unwitting agent” for the Kremlin, said he wasn’t able to comment.
Perhaps that’s why Trump seems to be close to the only person left in the U.S. who believes Russia didn’t try to upend the 2016 presidential election.
Spicer can’t say whether Trump believes Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. Trump once called the story fake news.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 20, 2017