Just how extensively Russia penetrated state election systems across America last year and how to prevent a repeat will be the focus of an extensive public hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. “We’re trying to focus on all aspects — the aggressive nature of Russia’s attempt to hack all the way down to the state level,” the committee’s chairman, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, told VOA. The panel will hear from cybersecurity and counterintelligence officials at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as state election officials and a representative of America’s secretaries of state for all 50 states — officials who are tasked with certifying elections.
According to recent media reports, federal investigators now think Russia’s penetration of voter rolls and election systems was far more extensive than originally thought, with dozens of U.S. states targeted and potentially compromised in some fashion.
Wednesday’s hearing will provide a change of pace from previous weeks, which saw former FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and top U.S. intelligence officials grilled about President Donald Trump’s actions and any possible contacts between Russia and members of the president’s inner circle. By contrast, the upcoming testimony will delve into the nuts and bolts of securing America’s democratic process — the committee’s original focus stretching back to last year.