Florida lawmakers push FBI to call counties hacked by Russia

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Florida lawmakers push FBI to call counties hacked by Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Florida’s congressional delegation mentioned Thursday it was unacceptable that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security won’t publicly determine the 2 counties the place Russian hackers gained entry to voter databases earlier than the 2016 election.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers mentioned after a labeled FBI briefing that they have been informed the names however weren’t allowed to share that data with the general public. Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., had an analogous briefing two days and likewise mentioned afterward that he couldn’t launch the names.

The Florida lawmakers need the federal businesses to be extra clear and are pledging to work on bipartisan laws to strengthen notification guidelines. They mentioned the general public has the precise to know if their information was breached, much like a bank card firm notifying prospects.

The FBI additionally informed the lawmakers there was “suspicious activity” round different counties, however didn’t determine these counties by identify.

“I don’t know who the hell they think they are to not share that information with us,” mentioned Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

The lawmakers mentioned they have been informed with certainty that election outcomes weren’t compromised, nevertheless it was much less clear whether or not the Russian hackers have been in a position to make use of the voter information in any means.

“We couldn’t get with certainly that the Russians were not actually able to manipulate the data that they had access to,” mentioned Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla. “They have no evidence but couldn’t say with certainty.”

Some Florida officers have been taken abruptly final month when particular counsel Robert Mueller’s report mentioned hackers gained entry to the community of at the least one Florida county. The FBI recognized the opposite county within the briefings with Florida officers.

The lawmakers confirmed what DeSantis mentioned after his personal briefing — that the hackers gained entry by way of a spear-phishing electronic mail after staff clicked hyperlinks. They mentioned the legislation enforcment officers described it because the hackers having access to the “garage not the house.”

There has been hypothesis in regards to the hackings since then-Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., mentioned final August that Russians had penetrated the programs of sure Florida counties and had “free rein to move about” earlier than final 12 months’s midterm election.

After Nelson’s feedback, the FBI and DHS mentioned in letter that they noticed no indicators of any “new or ongoing compromises” of state or native election programs. Some consultants warned that hackers might have left malware on pc programs to be triggered later.

DeSantis mentioned this week that he was annoyed when he noticed the imprecise reference to hacking in Mueller’s report.

“Hey, this shows up in the Mueller report, no one ever said anything to me,” DeSantis mentioned.

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