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Most state election officials lack clearances needed, DHS says

21 March 2018

Both Johnson and Nielsen said they had "no doubt" that Russian leadership at a very high level was involved in the attempt to interfere in the US election, which USA intelligence agencies concluded was done in order to boost Trump's candidacy.

State and local officials, she said, are. Senators also are pushing for better communication among the various USA intelligence agencies and federal, state and local governments about cyber threats and vulnerabilities in computer systems.

Senators on Wednesday warned that the Trump administration - and President Donald Trump himself - are not doing enough to prepare for the cybersecurity threat to election systems in this year's midterms.

Neither Nielsen nor former Obama administration DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who she testified alongside, explained to Rubio how the poised to fight misinformation.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhat's genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump Coalition presses Transportation Dept. for stricter oversight of driverless cars Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns MORE (D-Calif.) asked Johnson during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on election security why his department did not alert the American people leading up to the 2016 election that Russians were attempting to meddle in the process. Those officials complained that it took the federal government almost a year to inform them whether their states had been targeted by Russian hackers.

The committee's recommendations preview an election security report expected to be released in full in the coming weeks. It is the first of three reports the panel plans to write in its wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Richard Burr, R-N.C., center, joined from left by, Sen.

As a result, Johnson said, the federal government did not move forward with the critical infrastructure plan until after the election. The bill also contains $307 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to go after Russian cyberattacks.

The hearing follows a Tuesday news conference in which committee members from both parties said government efforts to protect state and local elections from Russian cyberattacks haven't gone far enough.

"We know whom to contact in every state to share threat information".

Nielsen said that DHS offers states comprehensive risk assessments and remote cyber scanning of their networks to spot vulnerabilities, but that it is voluntary.

The senators are also recommending that states consider implementing "more widespread, statistically sound audits of election results". But even that was straining resources, since many of those risk assessments have not been completed.

New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and SC have no verifiable paper ballot backup across their states, though some are looking to purchase systems that provide such audits. That decision prompted alarm among state election officials, who expressed concern the federal government was trying to take over elections that have always been the jurisdiction of state and local governments.

But Trump has faced growing criticism for publicly doubting Russia's involvement in interference, his calls for warm relations with Russia and his congratulatory conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. "We are already in an election year".

Most state election officials lack clearances needed, DHS says