Finally some people in Washington are doing something about protecting the integrity of U.S. elections from Russian hacking and other threats.
Senators Richard Burr (R., NC) and Mark Warner (D., VA) have decided to take matters into their own hands since the occupant of the White House has not done anything. Many in government and the media have been very critical of President Trump’s lack of action in this critical area. They believe that America’s democracy may be at stake, and they want effective action to be taken by government leaders.
So that’s what Burr, the Chairman, and Warner, the Ranking Member, of the Senate Intelligence Committee are doing. They have announced a series of actions intended to prevent election hacking:
- On Tuesday, they will hold a press conference during which they “will preview some of the Intelligence Committee’s recommendations for improving the nation’s election infrastructure.”
- On Wednesday, the Intelligence Committee will “hold a hearing examining attempted hacks on state elections systems in 2016 and the federal and state response to those efforts.” At the Wednesday hearing former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and current Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will provide their testimony on the vulnerabilities of the election systems.
- In the near future, Burr and Warner will release a formal report from the Intelligence Committee that will “include recommendations for elections officials around the country and also proposals for legislation to help ward off the hacking.”
The report to be released soon is expected to be “just one of what could be several reports to come out of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.”
In the United States there are 10,000 different voting jurisdictions or government entities that hold elections, and most of them use technology that is both obsolete and lacking adequate security measures.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported that Russian agents hacked into the election systems of 21 states during the 2016 general election cycle. This report from DHS served as a wake-up call for America, but unfortunately the president did not wake up to address this threat to our country. Instead, he seems to be asleep at the wheel while the nation may be veering off course and headed for a disaster during the 2018 midterm elections to be held in November.
Since U.S. intelligence agencies have already seen evidence that Russian agents are preparing to hack elections this year, there is a sense of urgency, and something needs to be done immediately.
Senator Warner has expressed his belief that the election security processes to prevent Russian hacking need to be significantly improved, and he agrees that President Trump has done very little to address the problem. Yet he is hopeful that it’s not too late to take some meaningful steps. “We’ve got bipartisan agreement we have to do something on this,” he said.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.