aside We Now Know The Russians Hacked Into At Least 21 US State Election States’ Data Systems

 

Image result for photos of voters protest right to vote“We the people” demand the assurance that our right to vote is not hampered by foreign government entities. Today, the former head Jeh Johnson of the Department Of Homeland Security testified before a US Congressional Intel Committee shared information that at least 21 US states elections’ data were successfully hacked by Russian hackers.

“We the voters” have a right to easy access to the ballot box. The data shared by Mr. Johnson was that states’s registration sites were hacked for nefarious purposes by countries like Russia which hypothetically could alter my personal details to where I could be blocked from voting. Because some voting machines are tied to the internet, Mr. Johnson concurred that malware could be inserted to effect election outcomes.

Is it too much for “we the people” to expect these voting systems not to be prone to external manipulations, as a separate issue from how our republican President Donald Trump’s ego might be damaged by addressing this head on, because he does not want the Russia issue to diminish the fact of his 2016 presidential win.

Editorial cartoon on Russian hackers and Anthony WeinerHere is the rest of the story…

On June 21, 2017, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjan of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Homeland Security official: Russian government actors tried to hack election systems in 21 states.”

Excerpts:

“People connected to the Russian government tried to hack election-related computer systems in 21 states, a Department of Homeland Security official testified Wednesday (6/21/17).”

“Samuel Liles, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division, said vote tallying mechanisms were unaffected, and the hackers appeared to be scanning for vulnerabilities — which Liles likened to walking down the street and looking at homes to see who might be inside.”

Editorial cartoon on Reality Winner and leaks“But hackers successfully exploited a “small number” of networks, Liles said, likening the act to making it through a home’s front door.”

“Liles was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and his remarks add some clarity to the breadth of the Kremlin’s cyber mischief. Officials in Arizona and Illinois had previously confirmed that hackers targeted their voter registration system, though news reports suggested the Russian effort was much broader.” 

Image result for photos of Homeland Security secretary Jeh JohnsonFormer “Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson outlined how Russian interference in the election did not affect voting machine tallies, but could have affected the election in other ways, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on June 21 at the Capitol. (Reuters)”

“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 U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election.”

“In a separate hearing before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified that Russia’s meddling was “unprecedented, the scale and the scope of what we saw them doing.” The testimony came a day after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a briefing he did not know whether President Trump believes Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

Editorial cartoon on Donald Trump and Russian hacking“In addition to scanning voting systems for vulnerabilities, U.S. intelligence committees have said Russian hackers hacked and engineered the release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.”

“In retrospect, it would have been easy for me to say I should have brought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the DNC, late summer,” Johnson testified. He said the severity of Russia’s efforts convinced him to sign onto an Oct. 7 statement publicly blaming the Kremlin for what had happened, even though doing so might be perceived as “taking sides” or “challenging the integrity of the election itself.”My view is that we needed to do it and we needed to do it well before the election to inform American voters of what we saw,” Johnson said. He added: “I think the larger issue is it did not get the public attention that it should have, because the same day the press was focused on the release of the Access Hollywood video.” That video showed Trump bragging about kissing and groping women.”

Editorial cartoon on Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump“Officials declined to say which 21 states were targeted, or identify those which actually had data — such as voter registration lists — removed from their systems. Jeanette Manfra, the acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications, said she could not do so because it was important to protect the confidentiality of those victimized.”

“FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap testified Wednesday that Russians also pushed false news reports and propaganda online, using amplifiers to spread their message. He said Russia has for years tried to influence U.S. elections, but the “scale” and “aggressiveness” of its efforts in 2016 made the attempts more significant.”

 Editorial cartoon on Ronald Reagan and Russian hacking
“Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the validity of U.S. intelligence reports that claim Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Putin spoke at a forum in St. Petersburg moderated by Megyn Kelly. (Reuters)”

“The Internet has allowed Russia to do so much more today than they’ve ever been able to do in the past,” Priestap said. He said Russia’s goal was to “sow discord” in the US and to “denigrate” Clinton and help Trump.””Johnson suggested that in the aftermath of the hacking, the federal government should “encourage a uniform set of minimum standards for cyber-security when it comes to state elections system and voter registration databases.”

Editorial cartoon on Donald Trump and Russia“But he acknowledged doing so might be a heavy lift, given that state election officials are naturally suspicious of what he called a “federal takeover” of their election practices.”

“State election officials are very sensitive about what they perceive to be federal intrusion into their process,” Johnson said, noting that he often encountered officials pushing back and arguing that “it’s our process, our responsibility.”

Getty Images)

And in 15 states there are and have been electronic voting machines where there is no paper trail which means, a recount is not possible.

The Homeland Security Head, Mr. Johnson stated at the 6/21/17 US congressional hearing that he had contacted all states which were vulnerable to outside interference according to the most current intelligence data he had in real time, to offer assistance, but 17 turned him down outright. He would not name these states but I would like to know if the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Georgia were on his contact list.

As per NBC news, “A decade ago, a group of citizens in Pennsylvania sued the state over its electronic voting machines, arguing the lack of a paper trail made hand recounts impossible, which could leave the outcome of an election in doubt.”

“After nine years of hearings and appeals, they lost the case. And when Pennsylvanians go to the polls to elect a new president, more than 80 percent of them will be using machines that don’t have a paper-backed audit.”

IN CONCLUSION AND IN LIGHT OF NEWS THAT RUSSIA STILL PLANS TO ATTACK OUR VOTING SYSTEMS IN THE FUTURE, THIS ISSUE NEEDS TO BE RE-LITIGATED.

Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system

25 comments

  1. “Because some voting machines are tied to the internet, Mr. Johnson concurred that malware could be inserted to effect election outcomes.”

    While there’s no doubt that Russia interfered with US elections, hacking voting machines is not a possible avenue, therefore Mr. Johnson is simply outright lying!

    Here’s an excerpt from CNN article that explains why:

    “1. Why is it unlikely the presidential election can be swayed by a hack?
    The American election system is decentralized by design, with state, county and local governments all managing voting. Even though many precincts use voting machines, none are connected to the Internet, nor are they connected to each other.
    That’s not to say voting machines don’t have vulnerabilities — those have been well documented and studied for more than 10 years. But to influence the outcome of a presidential election or statewide race would require physical tampering on a grand scale across in counties across multiple states on Election Day: In other words, it essentially can’t be done.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/19/politics/election-day-russia-hacking-explained/index.html

    • Dear !EarthUnited,

      Please review the references by Mr. Crustyolemothman which paint an opposing picture. We are going to have to respectfully disagree on this issue.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Thanks so much Gronda and Crusty, I see there is definite interference and election manipulation going on in the Georgia elections, but no indication of Russian hacking in either article. Only the IC knows for sure but they’re not telling. Perhaps SC Mueller will get to the bottom of this mess, subpoena Trump, Comey, Giuliani and key members of the administration who had contact with Russian officials. The ppl have the right to know!

  2. Dear Mz. Gronda,
    I think that I had provided a link to the Georgia election machine ruling by a judge along with a link to the “Missing” tablets that were allegedly stolen that contained all the voting information on the voters in the election, prior to the election. However I will provide you another link that should answer your question as to whether Georgia was one of the states involved in the problem you mention in your article. I might note that many of the people that have been on the dark side commenting are current and former contractors for our government intelligence community. I’ve read their chatter for several years and was skeptical for a long time, al least until they were able to predict the vote so closely in the last presidential election. I refuse to accept that our intelligence community does not know of the problem or how to fix it!

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/06/13/georgia_judge_throws_out_request_to_use_paper_ballots_in_the_upcoming_special.html

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/18/new-details-emerge-in-theft-ga-voting-machines.html

    I might also not that according to information that I thought I had passed on, 34 states were involved in the hacking incident. The dark side was very close not only on the vote totals for both candidates in the presidential election but the election yesterday as well!

    This is a “real” problem that can only be addressed if both political parties are wanting it resolved. However in all honesty there is no real incentive for the GOPTP to change the system that is totally in their favor.

    • Dear Crustyolemothman,

      Thanks for the references. This has long been a concern of mine as credible computer experts have been making similar assertions.

      Because of the Russian infiltration of US state election systems, this concept which had not been getting traction might be now be getting some light shined on it.

      Hugs, Gronda

  3. I almost wonder if we shouldn’t just go back to a paper-ballot system! I also wonder if the Russians helped Trump get Karen Handel elected in Georgia yesterday. I suspect we may never know the full extent of the Russian interference last year, but I have NO DOUBT that were it not for them, we would be saying President Clinton today. But the biggest question in my mind is: what steps are being taken to ensure that we will have voting integrity for the mid-terms next year? Excellent post, Gronda!

    Hugs!!!

    • Dear,Jill,

      It doesn’t have to be Russia. If these voting machines are vulnerable, then any political hack could do it.

      Have you noticed which side has been yelling that our voting system is rigged? Why is that?

      This Russian just gives us a viable reason to re-litigate this issue which needs to be addressed.

      All the IC heads who have testified, have confirmed that this issue is real and needs to be addressed.

      Frankly, this should have been done yesterday.

      Here is what got me with yesterday’s testimony by Jeh Johnson. Out of all the states that he offered support to protect voting machines from being hacked, 17 states turned him down.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Hi both of you, we still have paper voting and it is so reassuring standing there, putting a cross in un-erasable pencil on a piece of paper, then folding it and putting it in a secure box with several people around to ensure there is no hanky panky. Each stage of the process is scrutinised by groups of officials, journalists and lay observers from all parties or none. It works, it’s time consuming but it is so much less open to fraud. You can even begin to tell who has won in some cases by the size of the piles of paper as the count progresses! But I guess there will be no turning back for you and even here there is muttering about electronic voting. Though that was partly because of the low turnout of the youth vote but this time… well, let’s hope the revival of youth voting continues.

        • Dear Memoirsofahusk,

          If I had my druthers, we would go back to the paper ballot. It is so discouraging not to be able to put faith in the our votes being attributed to the right candidate. This is the same as saying that our vote really doesn’t count.

          Hugs, Gronda

        • No, probably no turning back, but I would welcome the old-fashioned paper ballot method as you described it! Technology can be great … obviously I must acknowledge that as I sit here typing on a small Dell laptop that, 25 years ago was but a vision to a few techies. But … it can also be used improperly and has opened the door to much corruption, not only in the voting process. But, the tide will not be stemmed and we must find ways to counter those who would use if for nefarious purposes. Sigh.

      • Agreed that it should have been done yesterday, but I am not even hearing a rumble to demand that the system be fixed. Where is the outrage??? But you can bet that if Trump had lost the election, we would be hearing a lot more about ‘rigged elections’. Perhaps this needs to be our next big push? Hugs!!!

  4. The President’s nonchalance over what happened, what is happening and what still could happen is evidence that further digging into his relationships with the Russian oligarchy is required. The greatest threat to America is cyber attacks not weapons If North Korea bombed us, they would pay quite dearly. So, even Kim Jong-Un is not that stupid. Putin can and will do cyber attacks all day if we don’t say enough is enough.

      • Gronda, it is an act of war. By the way, I have been reading the comments. When someone uses the words “never” or “always” it diminishes the assertion. The only certitude in life is “we will die” at some point. So, saying no one will ever hack the election machines is not a believable assertion. And, I also find it hard to believe the statement the election interference did not impact the outcome. Regardless of who won, I do not believe anyone can make that assertion. Seeding inflammatory stories that get repeated just might of an impact, otherwise why go to the trouble? Keith

      • I would go so far declaring Russian tampering as an act of war, esp if Republican collusion and the President is involved! Russian operatives are just taking advantage/ exploiting a weakness due to treasonous acts and greed of the current administration.

        • Dear 1EarthUnited,

          I don’t think collusion between DDT and Russia will be what people think. My theory is that President Putin decided to go all out to help DDT win when DDT signaled that he would work to lift sanctions against Russia.

          This becomes obvious because of all the times DDT tried to honor this request.

          Then when DDT’s IRS tax returns are subpoenaed, I suspect that we will find out that he is not as wealthy as he claims, that he is heavily indebted with foreign (Russian) financial institutions: and that he is in need of an influx of revenues.

          Hugs, Gronda

  5. The administration would do well to consider both history and also the public consciousness.
    History:- Example The Gulf of Tonkin incident- once it became a belief this act had been managed by the government of the day to increase military involvement in Vietnam the public began to lose faith.
    Public Consciousness:- The belief that Russia was involved in the election process is now ‘out there’ and has a credibility (Heck, if I was in Putin’s place it’s what I would have done-makes perfect dirty-tricks political sense!).
    Thus joining up the two strands, the capacity for a large portion of the population to lose faith should be exercising the minds in the administration.
    As the adage goes:
    ‘Just saying, that’s all’

    • Dear Roger,

      Right now, Americans are loosing trust in government institutions but this is what DDT wants. DDT represents that faction that has a goal of decreasing the size of government.

      We are in tough times.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Here’s the thing these ‘minimalists’ miss. If I had to explain it to them, I would have to keep it simple.
        America.
        300,000,000+ people.
        Five time zones.
        Environment from Artic to Desert.
        World Power responsibilities and interests.
        You need ‘plenty government’ to make it work (aside: idiots!).

        You, the ordinary Americans have my best wishes at heart. You are friendly, open, can-do, and so deserve much, much better.

        • Roger, well said. In the early 1980s, we deregulated the trucking industry. In short time, a significant number of trucking companies went bankrupt. We also deregulated the airline industry and a number of them went bankrupt or had to merge. Regulation is not the enemy, yet we must always challenge our regs to make sure they are efficacious. Just picking one of DT’s changes – he is giving license to coal companies to dump toxic chemicals into rivers and streams. What could possibly go wrong? Keith

        • I have been listen to (I’m an audio book fan) ‘The Best and the Brightest’ by David Halberstam; written in 1972 a very detailed account of the decision making processes which led to the military involvement in Vietnam.
          It is very salutary that all the wealth of talent, ability and dedication involved then could end of making the decisions which cost so many American and Vietnamese lives and failed to achieve the intentions.
          Therefore how much damage are a crew of amateur, blinkered, blunders in 2017 likely to inflict?

        • Dear Roger,

          The good news is that these particular WH leaders are incompetent enough that hopefully the damage that they do, will be limited.

          Hugs, Gronda

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