Just hours after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked consideration of a package of bills meant to secure American elections, a new report was released that shows voting systems in all 50 states were hacked by Russia in 2016.
According to The New York Times, “The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time.”
While we knew Russia successfully meddled in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, the new Senate report shows that those efforts were much more far-reaching than we thought.
More from the alarming report:
While details of many of the hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in Illinois and Arizona, are well known, the committee’s report describes a Russian intelligence effort more far-reaching than the federal government has previously acknowledged.
It concluded that while there is no evidence that any votes were changed in actual voting machines, “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data” in the Illinois voter database. The committee found no evidence that they did so.
While the report is not directly critical of either American intelligence agencies or the states, it described what amounted to a cascading intelligence failure, in which the scope of the Russian effort was underestimated, warnings to the states were too muted, and state officials either underreacted or, in some cases, resisted federal efforts to offer help.
Mitch McConnell is refusing to protect the United States of America
It’s disturbing enough that Russia’s efforts to weaken U.S. democracy in 2016 were more expansive than previously known. It should bother Americans of all political persuasions that a foreign adversary was working to undermine their votes.
But it’s even worse that we know it happened, and Republican lawmakers – led by Mitch McConnell – refuse to do anything about it. And as special counsel Robert Mueller warned during his testimony on Wednesday, it is likely to happen again in 2020.
Instead of joining the Democrats to enact commonsense election security measures, Mitch McConnell is essentially saying that it’s okay if foreign foes attack American democracy so long as his party is the beneficiary of those attacks.
As PoliticusUSA’s Jason Easley wrote on Thursday, “Mitch McConnell is violating his oath of office by refusing to protect the United States of America.”
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.