By Aaron Kesel
The DHS has clarified its position on Russian hacking allegations with a silent statement attacking NBC for its “irresponsible reporting.” What that press release failed to address, however, is allegations that the Obama-era DHS attempted to hack the election.
Jeanette Manfra, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Assistant Secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, released the following statement regarding recent NBC news coverage on the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to combat election hacking.
“Recent NBC reporting has misrepresented facts and confused the public with regard to Department of Homeland Security and state and local government efforts to combat election hacking. First off, let me be clear: we have no evidence – old or new – that any votes in the 2016 elections were manipulated by Russian hackers. NBC News continues to falsely report my recent comments on attempted election hacking – which clearly mirror my testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last summer – as some kind of “breaking news,” incorrectly claiming a shift in the administration’s position on cyber threats. As I said eight months ago, a number of states were the target of Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure. In the majority of cases, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed, while in a small number of cases, actors were able to access the system but we have no evidence votes were changed or otherwise impacted,” the statement read.
The statement continues:
NBC’s irresponsible reporting, which is being roundly criticized elsewhere in the media and by security experts alike, undermines the ability of the Department of Homeland Security, our partners at the Election Assistance Commission, and state and local officials across the nation to do our incredibly important jobs. While we’ll continue our part to educate NBC and others on the threat, more importantly, the Department of Homeland Security and our state and local partners will continue our mission to secure the nation’s election systems.
To our state and local partners in the election community: there’s no question we’re making real and meaningful progress together. States will do their part in how they responsibly manage and implement secure voting processes. For our part, we’re going to continue to support with risk and vulnerability assessments, offer cyber hygiene scans, provide real-time threat intel feeds, issue security clearances to state officials, partner on incident response planning, and deliver cybersecurity training. The list goes on of how we’re leaning forward and helping our partners in the election community. We will not stop, and will stand by our partners to protect our nation’s election infrastructure and ensure that all Americans can have confidence in our democratic elections.
(Before providing the following information, I want to say that I am not a Trump supporter. I am apolitical. I will openly and have openly attacked both Democrats and Republicans with good reason. Corruption is corruption in my eyes.)
While the statement addresses concerns about scanning, the scanning by the DHS was auspiciously not mentioned. Unsurprisingly, since the cover-up is vast, while there is no evidence of election tampering by Russians there is certainly evidence of election tampering by the Clinton campaign both during the primary and the general election as I documented on We Are Change during the election.
This new statement is one targeted against NBC and free press, but the gist of it is exactly what has been reiterated time and again: there is no proof of election hacking (a point that Democrats like to drill without any evidence to back their claims.) There is alleged evidence of probing or scanning of servers but even that is limited since it is a mere IP address and it could have been a potential hacker using a VPN or the TOR network.
The more concerning and pressing issue is the documented domestic voter fraud that we do have — like voters all over the U.S. reporting that their votes were switching from Trump to Clinton.
This next case is so obvious it’s bizarre that they would do something so desperate.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a friend of the Clintons, pardoned 60,000 felons and allowed them to vote.
The result? Clinton won by 63,014 votes in Virginia. You can’t make this stuff up folks.
Then there is Georgia’s secretary of state who revealed that the DHS tried to breach its firewall of computers housing voter registration data on November 15th.
Unlike the CIA’s narrative that the Russians hacked the election, this is well documented and even the DHS itself has admitted it, blaming a “rogue employee.”
Last year, before the election, the federal government was attempting to declare state election systems as “critical infrastructure.” After that attempt failed, it seems they attempted to illegally take matters into their own hands by scanning election systems without first notifying each respective state official.
Several states reported the reconnaissance scans for vulnerabilities in their servers performed by DHS IP addresses.
Cybersecurity experts agree that the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security attempted to hack into states’ voter registration systems in Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, and West Virginia.
According to one report published by the Daily Caller News Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, under the Obama administration, attempted to hack the Indiana State electoral system nearly 15,000 times.
The second case was revealed by Georgia’s secretary of state wh0 stated that the DHS tried to breach its firewall of computers housing voter registration data on November 15.
Unlike the Obama administration’s narrative that the Russians hacked the election, this is well documented and even the DHS itself has admitted it, blaming a “rogue employee.”
The problem that has since emerged for the DHS is that there are now ten separate cyber attacks known coming from the DHS trying to breach Georgia’s computers housing Americans’ voting data that was scanned for vulnerabilities in 2016, not just one.
The other problem is the timing of the attacks. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told The DCNF Jan. 24, 2016, he was suspicious because four of the 10 attacks against the Georgia election network occurred as he was about to talk to DHS officials, or coincided with his public testimony opposing the designation of election systems as “critical infrastructure.”
Georgia and Indiana aren’t the only states to confirm that the DHS attempted hacking them, according to a report from WSB-TV in Atlanta; two more states, West Virginia and Kentucky, also confirmed the same DHS IP address accessed their election system close to election day.
The argument that many without any type of knowledge of security are making is that it’s possible that DHS IP addresses were spoofed. The problem with this is that, if this was done, it would have been pointless because spoofing your IP address as a DHS IP address would do nothing but show your IP address as the DHS’s. You would not be able to receive information data replies, and instead the IP address you spoofed would receive those replies.
In simple terms, imagine you spoof a phone number—as was possible with Skype years ago—and someone called that number back. They wouldn’t be talking to you, but would instead be talking to the real owner of that phone number you spoofed. For another example, it’s the equivalent of sending a letter with the wrong return address and expecting to receive your letter.
Thus it’s exposed that a rogue group in the DHS tried to hack the election, which should be worrying because originally the DHS wanted to oversee the election to prevent exactly this. According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, the first attack happened on Feb. 2, the day after Georgia’s voter registration deadline during the primary — an extremely worrying fact in a free and open society that is supposed to be a “democracy.”
Where is the investigation for all this documented voting fraud, opposed to speculated propaganda hyperbole? NBC should do its job and report this all together like this reporter just did.
Image Credit: chrisdiontewalker