Comey: Justice Dept Gave Cheryl Mills Immunity, Not FBI

Hackers have attempted more intrusions into voter registration databases since those reported this summer, the FBI director said Wednesday, and federal officials are urging state authorities to gird their systems against possible other attacks.

Comey did not specify who these "bad actors" might be, but he did mention there was "a variety of scanning activities", something that indicates preparation for a more serious attack. I knew this was going to be controversial, I knew there would be all kinds of rocks thrown, but this organization and the people who did this [agents] are honest, independent people.

The FBI in August warned the 50 US states to boost their election security in light of evidence that hackers targeted online data systems in at least two states, IL and Arizona. This cycle, there is a concern that Russian government-linked hackers are also looking to sow distrust in the USA election system as a way to undermine Western power.

Director Comey said it was not even a "close call" on whether to prosecute and that prosecution wasn't even remotely appropriate given the facts.

A Yahoo report claimed that hackers had successfully broken into the voter registration system of the Illinois Board of Elections, from where they stole details for 200,000 USA voters.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday (27 Septmeber) said that 18 states had requested cyber assistance from the DHS regarding voting systems. "Those things are not connected to the internet, but the voter registration systems are". The aim was apparently not to affect the election process, he said.

In the absence of hard data, Comey added, "I can't tell you whether shootings involving people of any different color are up or down or sideways and nor can anybody else in this country". "That said, questions are fair, feedback is fair", he continued.

Republicans led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have seized on the immunity deal for Mills as a sign the FBI failed to carry out a thorough investigation.

Hackers recently got into the Democratic National Committee to release internal emails on the Wikileaks site. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down as the DNC's chairwoman.

There have also been attempts to hack the White House and the Pentagon.

IL state officials said that no voter record had been altered or deleted, while state officials in Arizona noted that hackers were unsuccessful in breaching the system.

  • Larry Hoffman