Matt Masterson, one of the U.S. government’s top election experts, is leaving his post as of next week for a role in academia where he will continue to study the disinformation campaigns that have plagued the country, he told CyberScoop on Thursday. Masterson has been a senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency since 2018. He led a team that reassured the public that the 2020 election was secure, despite President Donald Trump’s baseless assertions to the contrary. Masterson will join the Stanford Internet Observatory, a team of academics and tech experts led by former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, which works on election security and social media challenges. Masterson said his last day at CISA will be Dec. 18. At Stanford, “We’re going to unpack what we’ve learned over the last few years [on election security],” Masterson said in an interview, including “what more needs to be done on a broader level.” Masterson said he wants to continue to tackle disinformation campaigns, which could extend to the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Experts fear that a large swath of Americans are distrustful of the efficacy of the vaccine, in part because of conspiracy theories that spread online. Masterson, a former election official in Ohio, was part of a team of CISA officials who rebuilt trust between election officials across the country and federal personnel after the 2016 election.
National: In Blistering Retort, 4 Battleground States Tell Texas to Butt Out of Election | Adam Liptak and Jeremy W. Peters/The New York Times
In blistering language denouncing Republican efforts to subvert the election, the attorneys general for Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the victories in those states by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling the audacious effort an affront to democracy and the rule of law. The lawsuit, filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and backed by his G.O.P. colleagues in 17 other states and 106 Republican members of Congress, represents the most coordinated, politicized attempt to overturn the will of the voters in recent American history. President Trump has asked to intervene in the lawsuit as well in hopes that the Supreme Court will hand him a second term he decisively lost. The suit is the latest in a spectacularly unsuccessful legal effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the results, with cases so lacking in evidence that judges at all levels have mocked or condemned them as without merit. Legal experts have derided this latest suit as well, which makes the audacious claim, at odds with ordinary principles of federalism, that the Supreme Court should investigate and override the election systems of four states at the behest of a fifth. The responses by the four states — represented by three Democratic attorneys general and, in Georgia, a Republican one — comprehensively critiqued Texas’s unusual request to have the Supreme Court act as a kind of trial court in examining supposed election irregularities with the goal of throwing out millions of votes. “The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated,” a brief for Pennsylvania said.