DHS

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National: DHS won’t do voter-fraud investigation after Trump commission shut down | Washington Times

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tamped down on claims her department is going to pursue an investigation into voter fraud, saying Tuesday that her role will be limited to assisting states looking to weed out their own voter lists. President Trump earlier this month canceled his voter fraud commission and asked Homeland Security to pick up some of the work. Republican commissioners had said they expected Ms. Nielsen to take on the work they started of using government data to figure out how many non-citizens are registered and, in some cases, actually casting ballots. But the new secretary told Congress on Tuesday that’s not her goal. Read More

National: DHS Official On Russian Hacking: ‘A National Security Issue’ | NPR

President Trump has shown little interest in fighting the threat of Russians hacking U.S. elections. He’s shown a lot of interest in fighting voter fraud, something he insists — without evidence — is widespread. Parts of his administration are doing just the opposite. Bob Kolasky, an acting deputy undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told a group of election officials gathered in Washington, D.C., this week that the threat of Russian hacking in future elections is “a national security issue.” “We have seen no evidence that the Russian government has changed its intent or changed its capability to cause duress to our election system. That may not be the only concern we have in the future,” Kolasky said, adding that another nation-state or bad actor could also attempt to interfere in U.S. voting. Read More

National: 3 ways DHS is helping states with election security | FCW

A Department of Homeland Security official said the federal government is substantially more prepared to deal with a nation-state attack on election systems today than it was in the lead-up to the 2016 election. In a Jan. 10 speech to the Election Assistance Commission in Washington D.C., Bob Kolasky, acting deputy under secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, said the department has worked to expand its communication and outreach to state and local governments, which are primarily responsible for administering elections. “The Department of Homeland Security is in a much better position to work with our interagency partners and the election community to respond to any lingering threats that emerge going forward,” he said. Read More

National: White House says it will destroy Trump voter panel data, send no records to DHS | The Washington Post

State voter registration data collected by President Trump’s abandoned election fraud commission will be destroyed and not shared with the Department of Homeland Security or any other agency, a White House aide told a federal judge. White House Director of Information Technology Charles Herndon also said in a legal filing in Washington late Tuesday that none of the controversial panel’s other “records or data will be transferred to the DHS or another agency” from this point on, except for disclosure or archiving that a court or federal law might require. Herndon’s declaration left unclear what other information the panel may have assembled since its formation in May, if any analysis was done and whether information had already been shared with others outside the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, according to lawyers who participated in a telephone conference call with the court Wednesday. Read More

National: DHS: Kobach not advising on new voter fraud investigation | The Kansas City Star

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Monday that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach would not be advising the agency as it investigates voter fraud despite his claims that he would be involved. President Donald Trump officially disbanded his voter fraud commission last week in the face of a flood of lawsuits and resistance from states to a massive data request sent out by Kobach, the commission’s vice chair, in June. The administration said the Department of Homeland Security would study the issue instead of the commission.  Read More

National: DHS election unit has no plans for probing voter fraud: sources | Reuters

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s election security unit has no immediate plans to probe allegations of electoral fraud, despite President Donald Trump’s announcement this week he was giving the issue to the agency, according to administration officials. Trump said on Wednesday that he had asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review voter fraud and determine appropriate courses of action, as he announced he was disbanding a presidential commission dedicated to the matter. Multiple officials and sources familiar with the matter said they were unaware of plans within DHS, a sprawling agency responsible for a wide array of national security issues, to investigate voter fraud. Read More

National: Trump fraud investigation’s fate unclear after move to DHS | The Hill

The work of investigating President Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally in the last presidential election and cost him the popular vote — an idea he’s presented without providing any evidence — now lies in the hands of officials at the Department of Homeland Security, after Trump disbanded the commission originally charged with the investigation. Trump dissolved the controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity late Wednesday and turned its work over to DHS “rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Trump’s decision comes after the commission grappled with data security concerns and widespread opposition from state governments, including both Democrats and Republicans, who refused to fulfill the commission’s wide-ranging requests for voter data.  Read More

National: The latest 2018 election-hacking threat: A 9-month wait for government help | Politico

States rushing to guard their 2018 elections against hackers may be on a waiting list for up to nine months for the Department of Homeland Security’s most exhaustive security screening, according to government officials familiar with the situation. That means some states might not get the service until weeks before the November midterms and may remain unaware of flaws that could allow homegrown cyber vandals or foreign intelligence agencies to target voter registration databases and election offices’ computer networks, the officials said. Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states in 2016, according to DHS. The scanning, known as a “risk and vulnerability assessment,” is the crème de la crème of security exams: DHS personnel come in person to do an intensive, multiweek probing of the entire system required to run an election. But department officials acknowledge that it’s of limited use if it doesn’t come soon enough for states to correct their flaws before voters go to the polls. The nine-month wait is “not a good metric” for states hoping to boost their security, admitted Christopher Krebs, one of the DHS officials leading election security efforts. ”We are working to prioritize.” Read More

National: DHS official says ‘trust’ with states prevents sharing cyber threats to election with Congress | InsideCyberSecurity

The Department of Homeland Security’s Christopher Krebs told House lawmakers that a “trust” relationship with state officials has prevented the department from sharing specific details about cyber threats to the 2016 presidential election with Congress. Krebs said “we don’t have statutory authority to compel” states to report cyber incidents to the federal government, while expressing concern that the level of trust needed to get states to share with DHS could be undermined by passing along that information to lawmakers. Krebs, who is the senior official performing the duties of the DHS under secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, testified Wednesday at a joint hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform information technology and intergovernmental affairs subcommittees on the “cybersecurity of voting machines.” Read More

National: State election boards’ hands are sometimes tied when it comes to voting machine security. | Slate

Voting in the United States is highly decentralized—and in many ways that’s a good thing when it comes to security. Having different regions operate their own elections and count their own votes makes it harder for someone to forge, compromise, or change a large number of votes all at once. But that decentralization also means that individual states, counties, or districts are also often free to make bad decisions about what kind of voting technology to use—and it’s surprisingly hard to stop them. Earlier this week, North Carolina’s state elections board made a last-ditch attempt to convince a judge to prohibit counties in the state from using voting software manufactured by VR Systems on the grounds that the board hadn’t officially certified the software since 2009. On Monday—the day before Election Day—that attempt failed when Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway declined to intervene.

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