Senate Intel Cmte release 1st volume Russian investigation

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Senate Intel Cmte release 1st volume Russian investigation

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:47 pm

Emma Loop

NEW: The Senate Intelligence Committee has just released the first volume of its bipartisan Russia investigation report. This volume deals with election security. You can read it here:

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https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sit ... olume1.pdf

Back in May 2018, the committee released a summary of this volume of the report. Today they’re releasing the whole thing (with redactions).

Background:
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The Senate Intelligence Committee Just Released A Report On How To Avoid Election Hacking In 2018
The committee chairman says that in the months ahead, the panel will issue a series of interim reports like the one released Tuesday.

Emma Loop

Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images
Last updated on May 8, 2018, at 9:03 p.m. ET

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a summary of a report on how to help states prevent election hacking that found Russia launched an "unprecedented" cyber-campaign against the US in 2016. The report is the first of several about the panel’s investigation into Russian interference during the last election.

The six-page document, released Tuesday, says that during the last election, “cyber actors affiliated with the Russian Government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against state election infrastructure” and that “Russian actors scanned databases for vulnerabilities, attempted intrusions, and in a small number of cases successfully penetrated a voter registration database.”

The committee says this “activity was part of a larger campaign to prepare to undermine confidence in the voting process” but notes that it “has not seen any evidence that vote tallies were manipulated or that voter registration information was deleted or modified.”

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the committee chairman, told reporters earlier Tuesday that in the months ahead, the committee will issue a series of other interim reports dealing with different focuses of the Russia probe.

The committee has also written a full, secret report on election security that it says it hopes to release publicly after a declassification review.

As for the 2018 elections, voting has already begun. The report summary was released on the same day as primary elections in Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.

“Today’s primaries are the next step toward the 2018 midterms and another reminder of the urgency of securing our election systems,” Burr said in a statement. “Our investigation has been a bipartisan effort from day one, and I look forward to completing the Committee’s work and releasing as much of it as possible. We are working tirelessly to give Americans a complete accounting of what happened in 2016 and to prevent any future interference with our democratic process.”

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the committee vice chairman, said he remains worried that the US is “still not fully prepared” for the midterms. “That’s one reason why we, as a Committee, have decided that it is important to get out as much information as possible about the threat, so that governments at every level take it seriously and take the necessary steps to defend ourselves.”

Tuesday’s summary report says that “[a]t least 18 states had election systems targeted by Russian-affiliated cyber actors in some fashion,” and that that figure could be as high as 21.

“In at least six states, the Russian-affiliated cyber actors went beyond scanning and conducted malicious access attempts on voting-related websites,” the summary report says. “In a small number of states, Russian-affiliated cyber actors were able to gain access to restricted elements of election infrastructure. In a small number of states, these cyber actors were in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data; however, they did not appear to be in a position to manipulate individual votes or aggregate vote totals.”

The committee noted that states self-reported attempted intrusions and it’s “possible that more states were attacked, but the activity was not detected.”

Moreover, Russia’s influence campaign targeted the voting process itself from 2016 until after Election Day, the committee found. “These activities [...] included traditional information gathering efforts as well as operations likely aimed at preparing to discredit the integrity of the U.S. voting process and election results,” the report states.

The committee found that the Department of Homeland Security’s “initial response was inadequate to counter the threat.” The committee says that though DHS “is engaging state election officials more effectively now,” it had “limited success” in warning states about the threat of Russian interference in 2016. “In addition, members of the Obama administration were concerned that, by raising the alarm, they would create the very impression they were trying to avoid –– calling into question the integrity of election systems,” the summary report says.

The committee said that it remains concerned about the age of voting machines across the country, recommending — among other things — that they be immediately replaced. “Voting systems across the United States are outdated, and many do not have a paper record of votes as a backup counting system that can be reliably audited, should there be allegations of machine manipulation,” the summary report states.

The committee held an open hearing on election security in March, with testimony from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other election security officials. Before the hearing, committee leadership held a press conference announcing six recommendations to improve election security before the 2018 midterms.

The committee’s investigation into Russian meddling continues, with staff interviewing the remaining “handful of witnesses” through next month, Burr told reporters.

“This gives us the month of August in all likelihood to wrap up our investigation and for staff to work intensively while we’re out of here and not getting in their hair,” Burr said, adding that senators could then review final findings in September upon their return from the summer break.

The next report will evaluate the Intelligence Community’s January 2017 assessment that found the Russians waged an influence campaign in the 2016 elections and “developed a clear preference for” President Donald Trump.

Asked if his panel would, like Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, disagree with the Intelligence Community’s assessment with regards to Russia’s preference for Trump, Burr responded: “I’m not sure that the House was required to substantiate every conclusion with facts. We may have different opinions but whatever we propose, whatever we assess, we’re going to have the facts to show for that. So it may be that we don’t go quite as far as they did, it may be that we do.”


https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/em ... ing-report



Committee chairman @SenatorBurr says that “[i]n 2016, the U.S. was unprepared at all levels of government for a concerted attack from a determined foreign adversary on our election infrastructure,” and “[t]here is still much work that remains to be done."

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@MarkWarner: "I hope the bipartisan findings and recommendations outlined in this report will underscore to the White House and all of our colleagues, regardless of political party, that this threat remains urgent, and we have a responsibility to defend our democracy against it.”

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The committee has four more volumes to release, including one on the “remaining counterintelligence questions.” A volume on social media is in declassification review (so it’ll likely be released next). The committee "intends to release the remaining installments in fall 2019."

I’m going to read through the report, but here are the findings the committee is highlighting.

First one: "The Russian government directed extensive activity against U.S. election infrastructure.” The activity continued "into at least 2017."

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Included at the end of the report are five pages of minority views from Sen. @RonWyden. One of his concerns: "I cannot support a report whose top recommendation is to "reinforce[ ] state's primacy in running elections."

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@KamalaHarris, @MichaelBennet, and @MartinHeinrich have one page of “additional views,” too. “[W]e share some of our colleagues' concems about the vulnerability that we face, particularly at the state level, where counties with limited resources must defend themselves against…"

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p. 4: "While the Committee does not know with confidence what Moscow's intentions were, Russia may have been probing vulnerabilities in voting systems to exploit later."

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p. 5: "In its review of the 2016 elections, the Committee found no evidence that vote tallies were altered or that voter registry files were deleted or modified, though the Committee and IC's insight into this is limited."

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p. 5 cont: "the Committee found ample evidence to suggest
that the Russian government was developing and implementing capabilities to interfere in the 2016 elections, including undermining confidence in U.S. democratic institutions and voting
processes."

p. 6: The committee says that in March 2018, the Dept. of Homeland Security told them that an “attack resulted in data exfiltration from the voter registration database.” The part before is redacted, but the paragraph discusses Russians’ targeting of Illinois’ election systems.

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mma Loop

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@LoopEmma
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An interesting part of the report so far has been the footnotes. Senate Intel is very tight-lipped about its activities, and the footnotes give a glimpse of the types of documents/interviews they’ve reviewed as part of the probe. Here, an interview with Andrew McCabe is listed.

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An email titled "Kislyak Protest of FBI Tactics” is also listed there. Not sure we’ve seen that before, but I could be wrong.

p. 10: "Scanning of election-related state infrastructure by Moscow was the most widespread activity the IC and DHS elements observed in the run up to the 2016 election."

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https://twitter.com/LoopEmma





The Senate Intel Committee Just Released a Report Detailing Russia’s “Extensive” Meddling in the 2016 Elections
“Much work remains to be done.”


David Goldman/AP
A new Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Thursday details the “extensive” Russian operation, dating back to at least 2014, to interfere with the 2016 US presidential elections. The bipartisan report says progress has been made in coordinating federal and local efforts to bolster election security. But it also points to ongoing vulnerabilities in elections infrastructure, like voter registration databases, and the need for a stronger message from the government that the country views “an attack on its election infrastructure as a hostile act,” and that it will fight back to “send a clear message and create significant costs for the perpetrator.”

The 67-page report, two-and-a-half years in the making, is the first of several volumes outlining the committee’s investigation into election meddling. The report’s release comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress and warned that Russian operations against the election system are ongoing “as we sit here,” and that “many more countries are developing the capability to replicate what the Russians have done.”

“Many more countries are developing the capability to replicate what the Russians have done,” Mueller warned.
Senate Intel Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) each issued statements with the report’s release. Burr said that in 2016 the United States was “unprepared at all levels of government” for attacks on elections, and has improved in the time since. Burr noted that the Department of Homeland Security and state election officials have a much better working relationship than before, but that “much work remains to be done.”

It’s unclear whether Burr considers elections security legislation as part of the work that remains to be done. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has prevented most of this type of legislation from coming to the floor, arguing that Congress has done enough and that pending election legislation is merely the Democrats’ effort to usurp states’ rights and bolster their chances at the polls.

Warner, who a day ago was part of a group of Congressional Democrats who blasted McConnell for holding up legislation, alluded to needing to get past partisan gridlock. “I hope the bipartisan findings and recommendations outlined in this report will underscore to the White House and all of our colleagues, regardless of political party, that this threat remains urgent, and we have a responsibility to defend our democracy against it,” he said in a statement.

The report notes that the Russian operation dates back to “at least 2014.” It reveals that state and local officials, who are in charge of running most elections, “were not sufficiently warned or prepared to handle an attack from a hostile nation-state actor,” and that officials at all levels of government debated whether to publicly acknowledge what was happening, with some concerned that disclosing it “might promote the very impression they were trying to dispel—that the voting systems were insecure.” At the time, McConnell took an active role in preventing public disclosure of the Russian operation, the Washington Post reported in December 2016.

Russian reconnaissance of election-related internet infrastructure “probably included all 50 states.”
The report confirms previously reported news, including that Russian hackers penetrated voter registration databases in two states and potentially targeted systems in at least 21 states. Among the most striking findings: In a heavily redacted part of the report, the committee says the Department of Homeland Security determined that Russian reconnaissance of election-related internet infrastructure “probably included all 50 states.”

The report notes repeatedly that the committee found no evidence that voter registration data or vote tallies were modified, but adds that “the Committee and [intelligence community’s] insight into this is limited.”

The ongoing threats to elections “demand renewed attention to vulnerabilities in US voting infrastructure,” including aging voting equipment, a lack of paper record of votes in places, and insecure voter registration databases, the committee writes. “Despite the focus on this issue since 2016, some of these vulnerabilities remain.”

Read the full report below:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... elections/
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