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Russian hackers targeted 21 US states during election

“I don’t think it works just to say it’s a big system and diversity will protect us”.Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials disclosed during congressional testimony that cyber hackers employed by the Russian government had attempted to infiltrate the election systems of 21 states during the 2016 presidential election. The efforts by Russian agents were largely aimed at obtaining voter registration information, the committee was told.The extent of interference by Russian hackers has been the source of speculation and media reports for months – the Russia issue has cast a shadow over Mr Trump’s first five months in office. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat.Former Homeland Security agency chief Jeh Johnson said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that the extent of Russian hacking into computer files at the Democratic party headquarters in Washington and attempts to infiltrate state election records went significantly beyond past Russian efforts to influence USA elections.The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued warnings about Russian hacking, Johnson testified, but they didn’t get enough attention, he said.”In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the goal of influencing our election”. He said 33 states and 36 cities and counties used his department’s tools to scan for potential vulnerabilities.”Those who expressed negative views stated that running elections in this country was the sovereign and exclusive responsibility of the states, and they did not want federal intrusion, a federal takeover, or federal regulation of that process”, he said. “And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the – of the election process itself”, Jeh Johnson, the former head of the Homeland Security Department, told members of the House intelligence committee. “That is a fact – plain and simple”, said Johnson.”At no point during my tenure at the DNC did anyone from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other government agency contact or communicate with me about Russian intrusion on the DNC network”.Johnson said that Obama clearly wanted that message out there, but did not want to make it look like he was putting his thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. Although Connecticut’s system was not among them, the state did ask for federal help in shoring up its cybersecurity defenses before last year’s election.JOHNSON: To my disappointment, not to my knowledge, sir.”I know America’s voting systems are vulnerable because my colleagues and I have hacked them”, he told the Senate committee.Johnson also said he was unaware the FBI had opened an investigation into possible coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials. It took until October for Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to issue a public statement confronting Russian Federation.”One of the candidates (Mr. Trump), as you recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged”, the former Homeland Security secretary said.The hearing itself marks another small victory for House Russia investigators, who have been attempting to right their investigation ever since House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ clandestine trip to the White House in March nearly derailed the House probe.In January, Trump acknowledged that he believes Russian operatives hacked into files at the Democratic party headquarters and said Russian President Vladimir Putin “shouldn’t have done it”. “And that was the answer I got after I asked the question a number of times over the progression of time”.Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson testifies about Russian meddling in the 2016 election before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, on June 21.None of the systems targeted or compromised was involved in vote tallying, the report said, and there was no indication Russia’s prying changed vote counts in key states. Johnson said initial reaction from state officials to the designation “ranged from neutral to negative”.