The Department of Homeland Security on Monday pushed back against a recent NBC News report claiming that Russian hackers “successfully penetrated” U.S. voter roles before the 2016 elections, calling it misleading. “Recent NBC reporting has misrepresented facts and confused the public with regard to Department of Homeland Security and state and local government efforts to combat election hacking,” Jeanette Manfra, the department’s chief cybersecurity official, said in a statement. The article published by NBC last week drew on an exclusive interview with Manfra, during which she told the publication that U.S. officials observed “a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
Manfra’s comments echoed testimony she delivered before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June, in which she confirmed publicly that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted ahead of the election.
Citing her comments, NBC reported that Russia “successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several U.S. states” before the election.
In a statement, a spokesperson for NBC defended the network’s reporting as accurate. “It’s hard to believe DHS actually watched or read NBC’s report. Our story is accurate, and makes all of the very same points this statement accuses us of not making,” the spokesperson said.