It wasn’t just the National Security Agency that knew about Russian attempts to infiltrate U.S. voting systems. In the weeks leading to the 2016 presidential election, the then-leader of the Democratic National Committee warned the Department of Homeland Security that voter registration and absentee voting lists might have been sabotaged. Donna Brazile, who was serving as the party’s acting chairwoman, said she also urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to learn more about the possible problems and to sign a joint statement with her, raising these concerns to DHS. Priebus declined, Brazile told McClatchy on Tuesday. “There is fear that the goal of a hacker attack on the voter list is to delete or alter names or other information and cause incidents at the polling stations,” Brazile wrote in an Oct. 18 letter to Priebus, now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
DHS officials assured her that investigators would contact election officials in all 50 states as part of its investigation into Russia’s attempted hacking into election machinery, which according to a new report, was broader than previously known.
State and local election officials, including those whose systems were targeted, said they were contacted but were not told about the seriousness of a potential hack or that Russia was the instigator.
“Why weren’t election officials made aware of the threat to protect their systems?” asked Kay Stimson, spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of States.