Democrats apparently ignored warnings of a possible hack last year according to former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday on the Russia investigation, Johnson said the Democratic National Committee rejected an offer by the Department of Homeland Security to help protect its network, Fox News reported.
He shared that he grew increasingly more worried about a cyberattack against the U.S. election system and that he and others “sounded the alarm but that the press and voters were focused on a lot of other things.”
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Johnson “floated the idea” of getting the elections system designated as critical government infrastructure, thereby making a way for election officials to get cybersecurity help. But the offers were reportedly turned down as Johnson was accused of trying to take over state-based elections systems.
He confirmed that after approaching the Democratic National Committee about a hack in their system, the DNC “did not feel it needed” the assistance of his agency.
“Sometime in 2016, I became aware of a hack into systems of the Democratic National Committee,” Johnson said. “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, and the DNC did not feel it needed DHS’s assistance at that time.”
In his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee, Johnson, who served in the Obama administration from December 2013 to January 2017, said that Russia did execute cyberattacks against the U.S. in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.
However, Johnson noted that the Russian government “did not through any cyber intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results.”
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