FBI Changes Policy, Will Now Notify State Officials About Election Hacking - Do You Support the Policy?
Should the FBI notify state officials about election hacking?
by Countable | 1.17.20
What's the story?
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday it will now notify state officials about any attempts to hack their election systems, rather than just the direct victims of cyberattacks (which in this case would be the counties that own and operate election equipment).
- The change in policy comes after criticism that the agency wasn’t doing enough to inform states of election threats.
- “As we approach 2020, we took a look at how we were doing business with a specific eye toward increasing visibility,” a senior FBI official said during a media briefing. The previous policy had at times provided state officials with an “incomplete knowledge of the election security landscape within their state.”
- In Florida's 2018 Senate race, then-Sen. Bill Nelson (D) said he'd learned Russians hacked some Florida voting systems, an allegation based on classified intelligence. Then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) accused Nelson of making up the story. Scott won the election. A few months later, Robert Mueller revealed that Russian hackers had, in fact, gained access to a voter registration network in Florida.
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), who has continued to raise concerns about the FBI policy, said:
"All of this is welcome news, but it is not enough. I will continue to push for federal officials to provide more information to the voting public when foreign powers interfere with our democracy.”
Should we be worried about the 2020 election?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller ended his first public statement with these words:
“I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
"We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020."
Dan Coats, former Director of National Intelligence:
"We assess that foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests.”
What is Congress doing?
Congress is currently considering a number of bills to deter interference in U.S. elections by foreign nationals:
- The Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes (DETER) Act (S. 1328) would make foreign nationals who engage in or seek to engage in improper interference with a U.S. election ineligible for admission or deportable.
- The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act (S. 1321) would make it a federal crime to hack voting systems used in a federal election and allow the Dept. of Justice to pursue federal charges against anyone accused of such crimes.
What do you think?
Should the FBI notify state officials about election hacking? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: iStock / lisafx)
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