DHS reverses, says Wisconsin election systems not targeted by Russia


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Tuesday that it made an error when it notified the state of Wisconsin that Russian hackers scanned the state’s voter registration system.

The Associated Press reported that the agency initially thought hackers accessed systems operated by state election officials, but told those officials Tuesday night that hackers instead accessed the state’s Department of Workforce Development.

“Based on our external analysis, the WI IP address affected belongs to the WI Department of Workforce Development, not the Elections Commission,” a Homeland Security official wrote in an email.


A member of Wisconsin’s Elections Commission expressed outrage to the AP in an email, accusing the Trump administration of possibly organizing a cover-up.

“Either they were right on Friday and this is a cover up, or they were wrong on Friday and we deserve an apology,” Elections Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen said.

Wisconsin’s chief elections official told the AP that the DHS had assured the state that it was not targeted by Russian agents before Friday’s announcement.

“Wisconsin was not provided any information that indicated before the November election that Russian government actors were targeting election systems,” Michael Haas told the AP.

Last week, Homeland Security notified Wisconsin and 20 other states that Russian hackers had attempted to access their elections systems during the 2016 election. The agency has not yet said if it made mistakes in notifying any of the other states it contacted on Friday.

“As part of our ongoing information sharing efforts, today DHS notified the Secretary of State or another chief election officer in each state of any potential targeting we were aware of in their state leading up to the 2016 election. We will continue to keep this information confidential and defer to each state whether it wishes to make it public or not,” DHS spokesman Scott McConnell said in a written statement to The Hill.


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