Democrats and Republicans struck drastically different tones about their confidence in federal agencies’ efforts to secure voting systems and stamp out foreign state-sponsored influence campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms after a classified meeting on the subject for House members Tuesday. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among the officials who briefed lawmakers and answered their questions about what their agencies are doing to combat potential Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and other nations’ attempts to undermine the midterms. Roughly 40 to 50 lawmakers showed up to the meeting, which House Speaker Paul D. Ryan organized for all House members. Democrats who attended left largely unsatisfied.
“Coming out of that briefing I just feel kind of a pit in my stomach,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said. The Illinois Democrat serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology.
“I think we got to really work with the states. I don’t think they’re ready for 2018 yet,” he said.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, fielding questions alongside Nielsen, was less grave about the U.S.’s ability to shield its elections from foreign influence and meddling. The U.S. was “caught off guard last time,” McCaul said.