Speier Disputes Jeh Johnson's Testimony That DNC Was Notified of Hacking

Patrick Gallahue, spokesman for Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, said DHS never notified the state it was a target of Russian hacking, but accepted the agency's help to strengthen protections of the state's election system. "It is unclear why our intelligence agencies would withhold timely and specific threat information from election officials". "I do not believe our country is made safer by holding back this information", he told Manfra.

West Virginia Democrat Sen.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is on the hot seat Wednesday after testifying on Capitol Hill that Russian Federation did indeed interfere in last year's presidential election, but that it didn't change any votes.

"The Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the goal of influencing our election".

All 17 intelligence agencies have agreed Russian Federation was behind the hack of Democratic email systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. He said 33 states and 36 cities and counties used his department's tools to scan for potential vulnerabilities. However, Connie Lawson, Indiana's secretary of state and the president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said she and her fellow state officials were not given this intelligence before the election.

"The larger point that I want to emphasise here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections, in part because they're so decentralised and the numbers of votes involved-there's no evidence that has happened in the past or that there are instances that that will happen this time", Obama said in October.

Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of MI, said that despite assurances from DHS that voting machines and systems are hard to hack and that any systemic attempt to change votes would be detected, manipulating machines and the outcome of an election is actually quite easy - because he has routinely hacked voting machines as part of his research. Instead, he encouraged states to get cybersecurity help from Homeland Security to protect the integrity of the election.

Johnson said he was disappointed the DNC would not accept Homeland Security's help in finding its cyber-vulnerabilities.

Last summer, the Democrats accused the Russians of hacking into their system after a trove of emails appeared on Wikileaks.

JOHNSON: To my disappointment, not to my knowledge, sir.

Johnson also showed disappointment when he discovered that there was a long gap between the hacking and the time his department found out.

"I recall clearly that I was not pleased that we were not in there helping patch this vulnerability", Johnson said.

Johnson also said he was unaware the FBI had opened an investigation into possible coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials. Former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions both testified to the committee this month regarding the Russian probe.

The Senate Committee, conducting its own Russian Federation investigation, held a similar hearing with DHS and FBI officials on the other side of the Capitol on Wednesday.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy had earlier asked Johnson pointedly whether he knew of any evidence of possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

But he added that he was "not in a position to know whether the successful Russian government-directed hacks of the DNC and elsewhere did in fact alter public opinion and thereby alter the outcome of the presidential election".

Heinrich also asked Priestap to explain the concept of an "unwitting agent", and then asked if Trump became such an unwitting agent of the Russians by talking about rigged elections.

Priestap remained silent. "I don't blame you for not answering that question", Heinrich said. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House panel about his decision before leaving office in January to designate USA elections part of the nation's critical infrastructure. Spicer was asked whether Trump stands by the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation tampered with the 2016 election and said only that he hadn't "sat down and asked [Trump] about his specific reaction".

  • Larry Hoffman