‘No evidence that Russians manipulated votes in US elections’

A US Department of Homeland Security official Jeanette Manfra told a Senate committee that there is no evidence that Russia rigged votes in the 2016 presidential election.

Manfra, assistant deputy secretary of cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security, has said there is no evidence that actual votes have been tampered with, but she says Russian hackers have attempted to hack into the election systems of 21 different US states. Hacking attempts have actually been successful in a small proportion of election systems and networks. Manfra declined to say which 21 states were affected. Last year, Arizona and Illinois indicated that their vote registration systems were targeted by hackers.

Despite the hacks, Manfra still has faith in the elections and says that they are quite resistant to hacks, because the elections are often decentralized at the local level, are quite large-scale and the systems used are often separate from those from other states. Manfra said the owners of the election systems, often the states, are aware of the hacking attempts, but that may not be the case for the local administrators who actually used the systems.

In January, several US intelligence agencies released a report detailing how Russian hackers influenced the US election. The report, prepared by the CIA, FBI and NSA, speaks of a massive undermining of American democracy. The report talks about a hacker with the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0, who was used by the Russian military intelligence service GRU to break into the American Democratic Party.