With the threat of Russian interference continuing to loom over American elections, U.S. intelligence authorities are arming state officials with classified updates on risks to their electoral systems ahead of this year’s midterm races. Election officials from all 50 states will receive classified briefings on Friday and Sunday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement on Thursday. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join in the sessions. The meetings follow a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, where Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told lawmakers that this year’s elections were a “potential target” for Russian interference. But he acknowledged under questioning that “there’s no single agency in charge” of blocking such meddling even after Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Intelligence officials didn’t find that hackers were able to change the actual vote count in 2016 but have warned efforts will persist. Last year, the federal government designated election systems as “critical infrastructure” because of such threats.
Homeland Security has not seen specific or credible evidence of Russian attempts to infiltrate state election infrastructure as was seen in 2016, according to a DHS official, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.