Ex-Obama homeland security chief to face intelligence panel

  • Ex-Obama homeland security chief to face intelligence panel

Ex-Obama homeland security chief to face intelligence panel

And, with the help of a leaked classified intelligence report, The Intercept further reported that hackers allied with Russian intelligence targeted more than 100 election officials with phishing emails just before Election Day. Johnson reminded the committee that the "department doesn't have the power to patch vulnerabilities over the DNC's objections". And when he and James Clapper, then the director of national intelligence, released a public statement about the matter on October 7, Johnson said that the public and the media largely ignored it.

On June 21, the DHS Cyber Division's acting director Samuel Liles and acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security Jeanette Manfra testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But, as Johnson notes in his testimony, the proposal faced a severe backlash, with some state officials alleging that Johnson was attempting a federal takeover of state-based elections systems. According to the leadership list she is the 12th highest ranking official at Homeland Security.

Lawmakers on Wednesday learned that federal officials have evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted by Russian Federation ahead of the 2016 presidential election. "It's going to be back, and shame on us if we're not prepared".

Jeh Johnson, who led the Homeland Security Department until the end of the Obama administration, told the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee his department had issued warnings about hacking into voter registration databases.

Throughout the hearing, lawmakers indicated the need for swift action by the federal government to do more to work with state and local officials to better safeguard election infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Russia's activities became a "front-burner" issue for Johnson in the summer of 2016 in the wake of the DNC hacks, but per his testimony, it may have been too little, too late, especially given the DNC's resistance to the DHS's assistance.

Manfra and other officials testifying on Wednesday reiterated that USA elections are resilient to hacking in part because they are decentralized and largely operated on the state and local level.

Testifying before the Congressional committee, an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the number of states targeted by hackers seeking to affect the electoral results.

Johnson said he worries about the "vulnerabilities" in state voter registration databases.

He shared that he grew increasingly more anxious about a cyberattack against the US election system and that he and others "sounded the alarm but that the press and voters were focused on a lot of other things".

Applying the critical infrastructure designation amid the contentious campaign would have been "counterproductive", Johnson said.

"Twenty-one states is nearly half the country", committee Vice Chair Mark Warner said.

Johnson said that he's "not sure" he had authority at DHS to investigate whether votes were altered.

Russian Federation "orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the goal of influencing our election", Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee.

Hackers backed by the Russian government targeted voting systems in 21 states previous year in an effort to undermine confidence in the principle of free and fair elections, USA security officials testified on Wednesday.

That is: Because Obama was fervently campaigning for Clinton, the White House figured that raising alarms about Russian interference would seem mere electioneering.

He did, however, encourage current Homeland Security Chief John Kelly to make cybersecurity one of his top two priorities.

Regarding his controversial decision in January 2016 to designate election infrastructure as a subsector of critical infrastructure, Johnson argued the move was confined to the election infrastructure and did not affect politicians or political parties. The move was aimed at providing more federal cybersecurity assistance to state and local governments.