Top DHS official expresses high confidence in election security on Super Tuesday

Top DHS official expresses high confidence in election security on Super Tuesday
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A senior official at the Department of Homeland Security expressed high confidence in the security of voting systems on Super Tuesday, saying "all systems look green" nationwide.

The top official with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) told reporters Tuesday that while there is “constant” disinformation efforts on social media directed at elections, the activity was “low level” and CISA had not seen any increase as voters head to the polls in 14 states.

“We need to mindful that there is just that chronic level of misinformation and disinformation, whether it’s the Russians or anyone else,” the official told reporters. “There is a low level here of constant activity, but at the moment, we are not seeing any appreciable increase or spike in activity.”

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CISA is one of the federal agencies that works with state and local officials to boost election security protocols.

The agency on Tuesday said it was operating as a “national cybersecurity situational room” to allow for “rapid sharing of information” on threats to elections between officials at all levels of government.

The CISA official said that as of midday, there were no signs of cyber targeting or hacking of election infrastructure, and that “everything we are aware of has been resolved, more of a tech glitch than anything. All systems look green right now across the country.”

The problems encountered by the agency were complications for voters in Tennessee, where deadly tornadoes devastated parts of Nashville on Monday night, according to the official, who praised Tennessee for moving swiftly to put in place contingency plans to allow affected residents to vote.

“We’re better prepared for this single election than any other election in American history,” the official said. “We have clarity of purpose and unity of mission here, and I think the American people, the voting public, need to take a great deal of confidence away from that.”

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The comments came just a day after CISA Director Christopher Krebs joined the leaders of seven other federal agencies to issue a statement warning of foreign influence campaigns on social media, and urging voters to seek out trusted sources of information on how and where to vote.

“We remain alert and ready to respond to any efforts to disrupt the 2020 elections,” said the group of officials which included acting DHS Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose Amnesty International USA calls for halt on Chad Wolf nomination CHC leaders urge Senate to oppose Chad Wolf nomination  MORE, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHarris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle Hillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars McCarthy threatens motion to oust Pelosi if she moves forward with impeachment MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTreasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities Navalny released from hospital after suspected poisoning Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE. “We continue to make it clear to foreign actors that any effort to undermine our democratic processes will be met with sharp consequences.”

Election security has been a major area of concern since the 2016 election, when Russian agents launched a sweeping disinformation and hacking campaign designed to benefit President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE.

CISA has played a key role in the federal effort to combat election security threats, with Krebs telling The Hill during an interview last month that he spends “40 to 50 percent” of his time on the issue of election security.