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DHS official: Florida one of the 'best' states on election security, despite 2016 Russian hack
Christopher Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's cyber agency, described Florida as one of the "best" states in terms of election security on Wednesday, despite the recent announcement two counties were breached in 2016,
At the same hearing, a senior Justice Department official said that hacking of election systems is "inevitable."
"What we are finding is that Florida is probably one of our best partners of any state in the union right now," Krebs said at a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on election security. "Of their 67 counties, or their 67 election supervisor jurisdictions, they are all working with us in some shape or form."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said last week two countries, which have not been named, were hacked during the 2016 presidential election by Russian cyber actors.
On Wednesday, DeSantis announced he had directed Florida Secretary of State Laurel Leo to evaluate the cybersecurity of all election systems in Florida in order to help "preserve the integrity of our election systems."
"While the breaches did not compromise the outcome of the 2016 election, nonetheless, they highlight the importance of protecting the security of our elections system," DeSantis said.
Krebs said at the hearing on Wednesday, "the issue associated with the 2016 incident was addressed," and he believes the vulnerability that allowed for the hacking has been resolved.
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform National Security Subcommittee, said that he hoped the names of the two counties impacted would be made public, adding "Congress has a right to know who was involved."
Adam Hickey, a deputy assistant attorney general within the Justice Department's National Security Division, also testified at the House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, and said that election hacking from foreign adversaries is "inevitable."
"Hacking I think is inevitable, it's how we react to it," Hickey said. "Systems that are connected to the internet, if they are targeted by a determined adversary with enough time and resources, they will be breached, so we need to focusing on resilience."
Hickey said this resilience was mostly focused on how Americans respond to "a rumor or report that there has been a breach" of an election system," and emphasized the importance of letting election officials evaluate whether one occurred.
"We need to have confidence in our elected representatives and our state officials that they've got this, because they deal with contingencies in elections all the time," Hickey said. "If we undermine ourselves, the confidence in our systems, we will be doing our adversaries' work for them."