Small Florida county that backed Trump one of two targeted by Russians: reports

Small Florida county that backed Trump one of two targeted by Russians: reports
© Greg Nash

A small county in Florida's panhandle that voted overwhelmingly to support President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE in the 2016 presidential election is one of two that were penetrated by Russian hackers in that election, according to reports.

Russia's spy agency, known as the GRU, got into Washington County's voter registration database, two officials told The Washington Post. Trump won the 25,000-person county in 2016, garnering 77.4 percent of the vote, according to Politico

County Elections Supervisor Carol F. Rudd, declined the Post's request for comment on the reported breach but told the newspaper that federal, state and local authorities need to be able to communicate with confidentiality.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If each agency gets suspicious of the other’s ability to follow the rules of confidentiality, then those tenuous lines of communication quickly break down,” she said in an email. “That would set our security capabilities back years and severely compromise our ability to protect our elections. THAT would be a big win for the Russians going into 2020."

Ken Detzner, who was Florida's secretary of state during the election, told the Post that he was “prohibited by law from commenting.”

“The citizens deserve and have a right to know important things with regard to their election security," he added. "Over time, it’ll come out.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida governor orders criminal investigation into handling of Jeffrey Epstein case Groups ask court to block ex-felon voting law in Florida GOP Florida governor enlists new officer to prepare state for rising sea level MORE (R) said Tuesday that Russian hackers got into voter data in two of the state's counties during that election after being briefed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. He declined to say which counties were breached, saying he "signed a disclosure agreement.” 

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE, who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, wrote in his report that the GRU gained "access to the network of at least one Florida county government."

Washington County has long been a Republican stronghold, with Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE winning the county in 2012 with just over 73 percent of the vote, according to Politico and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Graham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 MORE also receiving 73 percent of the vote in 2008, according to The New York Times.