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Johnson says he was unaware of FBI Russia probe

Election systems in 21 states were targeted by Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 presidential election, a Homeland Security official told a Senate committee on Wednesday.She refused to respond to pointed questions by the panel’s top Democrat, Mark Warner, about how many states had voter data stolen by hackers.”I think there needs to be more done to secure registration databases”, he said.Manfra said the owners – whether the states themselves or third-party vendors – of the targeted election systems were informed.Johnson said he issued other public statements about cyberattacks on the election systems besides the October one. There’s a certain level of confidentiality that goes into the communications between critical infrastructure and that department that are guaranteed.”You said in your opening statement, or in your prepared remarks, that to your knowledge, there was no vote-tallying changes-that no one’s vote was, they voted one way and it was recorded some other way. Are we in there?” he said.”As of right now, we have evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted”, Manfra told the Senate Intelligence Committee, which investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.At 9:30 a.m. the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is scheduled to question two panels of experts on the subject of state and local election systems hacks. The official didn’t specify which states but clarified that the hack didn’t alter vote counts. “The FBI and 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”. Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico queried Priestap on whether President Donald Trump’s public statements during the race about the election being rigged against him had aided Russia’s goal.Trump has decried the investigations as witch hunts and has rejected the assessment by US intelligence agencies that Russia’s hacking and disinformation campaign was meant to aid his candidacy.PRIESTAP: I’m sorry, Senator. He shrugged and declined to comment. Priestap reiterated that he believes Russia’s broader efforts – which included “information warfare” and dissemination of fake news stories – will continue in future elections.He said that it’s only confined to the election infrastructure and not the politicians and not and political parties.Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr announced the panel will bring in the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a classified briefing on open and new inquiries regarding Russian Federation, and reiterated the need for the public to know more about what happened ahead of upcoming elections.Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday the Democratic National Committee turned down help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation after its system was hacked – and that he had not known about it for months.Johnson served as Obama’s homeland security chief from December 2013 to January 2017.He said he became aware of the compromise “sometime in 2016″, and that, when he pressed his staff on whether the DHS had been sufficiently proactive to help identify the intruders and patch vulnerabilities, the answer wasn’t reassuring.Johnson also spoke on his decision in January 2016 to designate election infrastructure as a subsector of critical infrastructure, which made election infrastructure a priority for cybersecurity assistance and protections.Today (Wednesday), a senior-level U.S. cyber defense official stated that Russian hackers attacked communication systems related to 21 states in the USA election.”No, and I’m not sure I had the authority to do that”.Tapper sought clarification of what Speier said.Around that time, Johnson said, he started to see reports of “scanning and probing” of state voter registration systems. Ballot machines are, by design, not easy things to hack.