Russians Targeted 21 States Department of Homeland Security Officials Tell Senate Intelligence Committee

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Individuals connected to the Russian government attempted to perpetrate election-related computer systems in 21 states a Department of Homeland Security official testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Samuel Liles, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division, said vote tallying mechanisms were not affected, and that hackers were searching for vulnerabilities.

However, Liles added that the hackers had exploited a “small number of networks.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has thus far focused on whether there was any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Liles’ testimony Wednesday helped show intensely Russian officials were working to impact affect the election.

Prior to Wednesday’s testimony, several state officials reported that hackers had targeted their voter registration systems.

Several media reports indicate that Russians targeted as many 39 states. A June 12 story on Bloomberg reported that Russians had hacked into 39 states’ voter registration systems and tried to delete or alter voter data.

Along with Russia’s attempts to infiltrate voting systems, U.S. intelligence communities say Russian hackers orchestrated the release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

FBI Assistant Director of Counter Intelligence Bill Priestap testified that Russia pushed fake news reports and propaganda online.

Nearly all of the intelligence and law enforcement officials who have testified on Russia’s attempts to influence the election have said that Russia has been trying for years to meddle in elections, but they noted they were surprised and alarm by the scope of Russia’s attempts in the 2016 election.