NEW YORK — The U.S. intelligence official assigned with protecting American elections from hacking confirmed for the first time Thursday that Russia successfully breached voter rolls in several states ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, declined to go into detail about classified information, but confirmed to NBC News that Russian hackers targeted 21 state voter registration rolls — “and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
Manfra said there’s “no doubt” that the Russian government was behind the hacks. There is however no evidence that the hackers managed to actually alter the rolls in any way, she added.
The U.S. intelligence community unanimously concluded after the election that Russia meddled in the election in a deliberate effort to undermine American democracy and elect Donald Trump.
Manfra’s revelation comes hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that Russian hackers are already targeting the upcoming congressional midterm elections.
It also comes as multiple congressional committees and intelligence agencies continue to probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, meanwhile, is looking into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians. Mueller has already secured four federal indictments against four of Trump’s associates and is rapidly zeroing in on his inner circle.
Trump has continued to blast any allegations of collusion as “fake news” cooked up by Democrats. He has also yet to unambiguously acknowledge that Russia interfered in the election to get him elected.
Tribune News Service