Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee as part of that panel’s Russia investigation. Johnson told lawmakers that there was no evidence that votes were altered as the result of Russian efforts to breach state election systems, NPR reports.
“Based on everything I know, that is correct,” Johnson told Representative Mike Conaway.
“I know of no evidence that, through cyber-intrusions, votes were altered or suppressed in some way.”
Moreover, Johnson defended the Obama administration’s decision not to make a public statement about the Russian meddling into the fall of last year. He said the statement he and other Obama administration intelligence officials released in early October warning of the Russian attempts to meddle in the election “did not get the attention it should have” because of the release of the Hollywood Access tapes that day, in which then-candidate Trump boasted of groping and kissing women.
Earlier, Johnson said he wished “he had camped out with a sleeping bag” in front of the Democratic National Committee to get them to take seriously warnings that their email server had been hacked. His prepared remarks were released by the committee Tuesday evening.
“In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple. Now, the key question for the President and Congress is: What are we going to do to protect the American people and their democracy from this kind of thing in the future?”.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will be holding its own hearing focused on state election systems. Senators will be hearing from cybersecurity experts from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security as well as from representatives of state election systems and state secretaries of state across the country.
The hearings Wednesday potentially refocus all of the recent drama in Washington about the Russian election meddling narrative back on the facts and details of what Russian intelligence services sought to do to breach the security of state election systems, among other things, in order to interfere in the 2016 presidential race.