Politics

Florida governor says two counties hacked in 2016

DeSantis says no data manipulated

TALAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis revealed Tuesday that a second county in the state was hacked during the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report on interference in the election said that "at least one" Florida county had been breached.

DeSantis, who was briefed by the FBI on Friday, said two counties "experienced intrusion into the supervisor of elections network," but added that there was no manipulation of the data, and that the intrusion "had no effect" on Florida vote totals. He did not say which counties were involved.

Previous reporting and government announcements have established that the GRU, Russian military intelligence, created an email phishing campaign aimed at Florida county election employees in the summer preceding the 2016 presidential election.

But it wasn't until Mueller's report was published that the public learned the FBI had investigated a particular county for actually being hacked.

"[T]he FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government," the report claims.

DeSantis's office told CNN the governor was briefed Friday by the FBI and signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevents him from naming the two counties. A separate FBI briefing with Florida members of Congress is slated for Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday that the US intelligence community remains focused on countering cyberattacks and foreign influence campaigns intended to impact the election process.

"I do want to assure you that the US intelligence community is well postured to counter Russia, China, Iran or anyone else who is trying to exert influence over the American people and our election process," he told an audience at Purdue University.

"As Director of National Intelligence, I have pushed for and received enhanced authorities to empower the intelligence community to respond to cyberattacks and foreign influence campaigns," Coats said.


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