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 MurphyBlue Dogs issue new call for House leaders to abide by pay-go rule Trump administration unveils new plan for notifying public on 2020 election interference Overnight Health Care: House Dems clash over Pelosi drug pricing bill | Senate blocks effort to roll back Trump ObamaCare moves | Number of uninsured children rises 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) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by 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) GaetzTech finds surprise ally in Trump amid high-stakes tax fight US defense secretary can't label US base attack 'terrorism' at this point Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr 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 DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantis FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Overnight Defense: Suspect in Pensacola shooting identified as Saudi aviation student | Trump speaks with Saudi king after shooting | Esper denies considering 14K deployment to Mideast Suspect in deadly Pensacola air station shooting a Saudi national 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.