Wisconsin elections officials have created a security team and are putting together a formal security plan amid concerns about Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election last year and evolving cyber-security risks. The Wisconsin Elections Commission plans to work together with federal, state and local elections officials on the plan in advance of next year’s elections to prevent any security breaches, a memo describing the effort said. The commission was to discuss the effort Tuesday. The move comes as federal investigators and the Senate Judiciary Committee investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. President Donald Trump on Friday called allegations of Russian election meddling a “hoax,” and insisted the media was the “greatest influence” on the 2016 campaign.
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters. They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election. The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office. The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals. It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said. A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.