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Tag: election

Russian Cyberattacks on Election Systems Adds Pressure to Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mounting evidence that Russia used cyberattacks to impact the presidential election has turned up the heat on Homeland Security to protect America’s democratic system from hackers.

Homeland Security officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that they have evidence to suggest Russian operatives targeted election systems in 21 states.

The Hill reports that lawmakers are urging the department to help states protect their election systems. 

“I’m deeply concerned about the danger posed by future interference in our elections,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chairman of the intelligence panel, said Wednesday. “We have elections in 2018, but in my home state of Virginia, we have statewide elections this year. So this needs a sense of urgency.”

Senators asked Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to provide more details about the targeted election systems, including which states were targeted.

(D-Ore.). “We obviously need to know about vulnerabilities, so that we can find solutions, and we need better cybersecurity to protect elections from being hacked in the first place.”

FBI Director Says He Has No Regrets about Handling of Hillary Clinton Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate committee on Thursday that he felt “mildly nauseous” that he may have affected the outcome of the presidential election, but said he would do it over again.

Comey was hammered with questions for four hours from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Lordy, has this been painful,” Comey said. “I’ve gotten all kinds of rocks thrown at me and this has been really hard, but I think I’ve done the right thing at each turn.”

Comey insisted he had a responsibility to notify Congress that new information had prompted the FBI to reopen the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal less than two weeks before the election.

Sen. Patric Leahy, D-Vt., was not happy, he told the Washington Post after the hearing. 

“I would have been satisfied if he had done what all Republican and Democratic administrations have done in the past,” Leahy said. “The Justice Department has a procedure. You do not release information like that just before an election.”

Comey offered new details about what lead up to his decision to notify Congress of the investigation.

“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,’’ Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”

Stephen Colbert Pokes Fun at FBI Director’s Testimony about Clinton Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Late night comedian Stephen Colbert had harsh words for FBI Director James Comey following controversial testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Colbert played clips of Wednesday’s committee hearing in which Comey defended his decision to notify Congress that the Hillary Clinton investigation had reopened.

Colbert also ribbed Comey for saying he was “mildly nauseous” for potentially upending the election.

“Maybe it’s morning sickness — after all, you did screw the whole country,” Colbert said. 

Other Stories of Interest

Hillary Clinton in Rare Public Appearance Partly Blames FBI’s Comey, Russian Hacking for Election Loss

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hillary Clinton, in a rare public appearance, said she would be president if not for FBI Director James Comey’s decision to release information to Congress about reopening the bureau’s investigation into her use of a private email server.

Comey’s Oct. 28 letter to Congress reversed her momentum going into the Nov. 8 election, Clinton told a CNN anchor at a Women for Women International event in New York.

Clinton also blamed Russian hackers, which the FBI is investigating.

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton told CNN moderator Christiane Amanpour.

Clinton added: “I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off — and the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling (and) persuasive.”

Still, Clinton said she takes “absolute personal responsibility” for failing to win the election but continued to blame external forces, including “misogyny.”

Just two days before the election, Comey notified Congress that no new evidence was found to conclude that Clinton should face criminal charges.

Comey May Have Wanted to Stay Out of Politics, But He Shaped the Election — N.Y. Times

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A New York Times examination of the 2016 election concludes that while FBI Director James Comey insisted on avoiding politics, he ended up shaping the election.

Reporters Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, Adam Goldman and Eric Lichblau of the New York Times write about the Hillary Clinton email probe:

But with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened.

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

The paper goes on to write:

An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy. Many of the officials discussed the investigations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

 

FBI Plans to Launch Special Unit to Investigate Russian Interference in American Politics

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing how serious the FBI is about allegations of Russian interference in American politics, the bureau plans to create a special unit at its Washington D.C. headquarters to coordinate the probe.

The special unit also will give FBI Director James Comey “greater visibility into the investigations granular details,” the Financial Times reports.

“It’s meant to surge resources,” one FBI agent said.

The FBI also used temporary units to investigate WikiLeaks.

Because of the high-profile investigation of Russia and the massive amount of resources involved, the special unit allows the inquiry to have a central manager.

“It’s getting unwieldy,” said one person briefed on the plan. “It’s too big and it’s on the front page of the newspaper every day.” 

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

Poll: Public Largely Supports FBI Investigation into Russian Interference of Election

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The public is largely supportive of the FBI investigation into the possible links between Donald Trump’s campaign team and the Russian government.

The Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that Americans support an investigation by a 17-point margin, 48% to 31%.

The poll also found that about half of Americans believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but only about a third believe the intent was to help Trump win.

Opinions on the investigation are largely determined by whom voters supported in the presidential election. More than 80% of Clinton supporters believe the Russia story is a legitimate issue, while Trump voters disagree, 65% to 22%.

CNN Analyst: Michael Flynn May Be Cooperating with FBI’s Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who resigned after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his relations with Russia, may be talking with the FBI, a CNN national security analyst believes.

Citing sources, Juliette Kayyem said “Mike Flynn is the one who may have a deal with the FBI.”

He added, “That’s why we have not heard from him for some time.”

But Kayyem later walked back some of her claims, writing on Facebook, “I did not say on this segment that I have any confirmation that he is actually cooperating or that I have talked to anyone who does.”

Kayyem said her sources “are increasingly wondering” whether Flynn is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Russian interference during the presidential election.