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Florida lawmakers push FBI, DHS to declassify names of the two counties hacked by Russia in 2016

Florida lawmakers push FBI, DHS to declassify names of the two counties hacked by Russia in 2016
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A bipartisan House delegation from Florida said Thursday they are pushing the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to declassify the names of the two Sunshine State counties that Russia hacked during the 2016 presidential election.

The delegation, led by Florida Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Rep. Stephanie Murphy says she's 'seriously considering' 2022 challenge to Rubio Blue Dogs push for further action on domestic terrorism MORE (D) and Mike Waltz (R), blasted the government agencies for their lack of transparency, stating that they only received a FBI briefing on Thursday because special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s report on Russian interference revealed that the bureau was investigating a Moscow-led hack into "at least one" Florida county.

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Murphy called this lack of transparency “counterproductive,” arguing that the government’s “drip and drab” release of information about the attack on Florida's election systems is eroding public confidence in their elections.

“This is an American issue, and the public deserves to know what happened,” Murphy told reporters during a press conference, surrounded by other Florida lawmakers.

GOP Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGrenell hints at potential California gubernatorial bid Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE (Fla.), a frequent critic of the FBI, took his criticism further, blasting the government agencies for declining to share the information, which they say must be kept secret in order to protect sources and methods, including the identity of the victims affected in the hack.

“The victims are the voters,” Gaetz said.

The lawmakers say they are looking at legislation that would require mandatory reporting from the FBI to local election partners and Congress when it comes to cyberattacks, while arguing that congressional delegations deserve FBI briefings on such national security matters unfolding in their state.

The House press conference comes two days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online MORE (R) revealed that operatives with the GRU, Russia’s intelligence service, successfully gained access to voter data in two counties during the 2016 presidential election.

Florida lawmakers and politicians say they sought briefings with the FBI and DHS after Mueller wrote in his report that his office accepted the FBI's assessment that the GRU gained "access to the network of at least one Florida county government."

According to the Mueller report, the GRU operatives sent "spearphishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. election." The emails included an attached Word document that had malware coded into it, which allowed the Russian hackers to infect the computers if the attachment was opened.

The lawmakers say the FBI assured them there is no evidence that voter data was manipulated and that the bureau had notified and were working with the two counties prior to the election.