tv Election Security News Conference CSPAN March 21, 2018 12:42am-1:17am EDT
the headlines to explain in depth, one significant news story shaping the conversation in washington and around the country. we'll hear from journalists, policymakers and experts providing background find it on the free radio app and i to google play. an online anytime at c-span.org. >> next, report on the security of the country's infrastructure. committee members to questions from reporters at this 30 minute briefing. >> good morning. >> good afternoon. if you had the flight i did you think it was so morning too. i think everybody for being here.
i think my colleagues were with mark and i this morning. it is safe to say the senate committee on intelligence has been focused on completing an investigation since the beginning. we haven't set artificial timelines are made promises. what we said is that we would go wherever the facts let us. were now at a point where we have wrapped up one-piece of the investigation which deals with election security. it's safe to say our team has done a thorough job. i've spoken to nearly all affected states. they have interviewed numerous current, former, high-level officials from the white house of the nsc, the department of homeland security, the fbi and
other intelligence community agencies. they have secured and analyzed countless products both raw and finished assessments. me say this with a great deal of confidence. it is clear the russian government was looking for the vulnerabilities in our election system. and highlighted some of the key gaps. there is no evidence that any vote was changed. russia attempted to penetrate 21 states. we know there were successful in penetrating at least one voter database. to the department of homeland security alert estates to the threats warnings did not provide enough information or go to the right person in every case. alerts were actionable they provided an ip address to professionals, but no clear
reason for states to take this threat more seriously were given. russia was trying to undermine the confidence of our election system. we are here to express concerns and also confidence in our state local governments. what's important to understand is tomorrow will have an open hearing specifically on election security. mark will be joined by four members have taken the lead on the recommendations that they will be public today. we distinguish, we very much support state control of the election process. we think there are ways the federal government can support those states. clearly, we have to get some standards in place that are sure every state at the end of the
day that you certified the vote totals. think what members will share recommendations that we come with. it's nothing that you should expect legislative action is just part of the investigation. we will work closely on sharing information so they can process our recommendations, and to it, delete from it. but also with the agencies most appropriate to make sure they bring the resources and partnerships to the states and localities and individuals that are single, most important to the election process. major a few conclusions. we need to be more effective at deterring our adversaries. the government should partner to
secure their systems. there will also be impossible grant funding. dhs and the fbi have made great strides but they must do more. dhs offers a suite of assistance but we've heard they do not have the resources to fulfill all the requests. we will work to see if we can't fill that gap. we need to look at the equipment that records votes. we all agree that all votes should have an audible paper trail. in a 2165 states used only electronic machines with no paper trail. nine use some of these machines. all of this costs money. we want to make sure the federal government is a partner. i hope that will be expressed as early as the omnibus spending
bill. >> thank you. i think it's an indication of you have better eyesight. let me think all of the members are being here. and the way this committee has been performed today. you'll hear from for members who have worked on this issue of election security. i like to point out that the senator has very important legislation was senator van hollen bears consideration as well. one of the consensus that we came up with was that we were all disappointed that states the federal government the department of homeland security was not more on their game in advance of the 2016 elections.
the chairman indicated there are 21 states that were attempted to be an intervention and one that got through the protections. one of the most frustrating things in the aftermath of this information coming out and took the department of homeland security nearly nine months to notify the top election officials that their states assistance had been in their systems have been messed with. i think the chairman and the committee. i think that was important to communicate with the states. reason they didn't have appropriate security clearances, i don't believe in an era where we have to communicate more quickly was an appropriate
response. some legislation proposed will help you with that. the truth is, in the months i think dhs has picked up his game. but there's much more to do. there were still 40 states operating with election equipment more than a decade old. much of that had outdated software that you are not able to upgrade even if you chose to. fourteen states is voting equipment that had no paper trail. in the aftermath here i discovered in my state of virginia, they did not have a system. we had to act quickly because we had state elections last year.
we had 23 jurisdictions to change machines. it was a scramble but that was appropriate to give virginians the confidence that our systems are going to be secure. the problem is that in 2016 it was the russians. we seen evidence of russia intervention and other systems run the west. the toolkit is now available not only to russians but other potential of the series. recommendations of this committee and i look forward to the colleagues. it's important. i think tomorrow's hearing is terribly important even with snow coming. we ought to be there because it maintaining the integrity of the voting systems and the public's
fate that their votes will be counted in a fair and actively is critical. i now turn it over to senator collins. >> the may begin by commending the chairman and vice chairman for leading a bipartisan investigation into interference with our election. all our investigation is ongoing, one conclusion is clear. the russians were relentless in attempting to meddle in the 2016 elections. they will continue their efforts to undermine public confidence in western democracies and in the legitimacy of our election. the leadership of the intelligence committee is unanimous in their assessment that the russians continue to
undertake sophisticated attacks to exacerbate the conditions in our country. the 2016 election the election related system of at least 21 states. we may never know the full extent of the russian malicious attacks. to counter this i want to briefly discuss some of what happened in 2016 and the need for better communication and intelligence sharing between the federal and state governments. there are several problems with the approach taken as the chairman and vice chairman have outlined. although the fbi sent out a warning to state officials, the alert was not clear.
in identifying these vulnerabilities were being exploited by a foreign adversary nor did it specify just how serious the threat was. another problem was that state officials were deeply concerned that public warnings might promote the precise and that they wanted to dispel that the voting systems are insecure. that's helping the russians achieve their goal of undermining public confidence in the election result. in france and germany we have seen that greater public disclosure has had beneficial effect. the third major problem was the lack of security clearances first tops to election officials. as of june 2017, nearly eight
months after the 2016 election, not a single chief election official at the state level received a security clearance. this clearly unacceptable. while dhs recently sponsored a one day classified briefing. he received mixed reviews from state election officials. we must assist states and hardening their defenses against foreign adversaries, including passing legislation, providing funding and authorizing appropriate security clearances we must also immediately ensure robust communication and information sharing in both directions between the federal government and state election agencies on cyber security
threats. were ready in an election year. the need techno is urgent. >> thank you senator collins. i want to say about how proud i am of our entire committee and leadership of chairman burr and vice chairman warner and how they take on this task of getting to the bottom of what happened with russia's influence and interference in 2016. we recognize or democracy hinges on protecting america's ability to fairly and actually choose their leaders. until we send up stronger protections of our own and take steps to prevent this in the future we will remain vulnerable to attack.
want to echo what senator collins said about ensuring our state election offices are equipped to respond to these threats and keeper voting system secure. all of us are in agreement and the importance of the leadership at the state level. as we work to address election security i found helpful the consultation with new mexico secretary of state, maggie. she won state elections and is also state leader in securing systems. they should have security clearances and support from federal agencies they need so they can respond in real-time, not months later. the government needs to attribute these attacks quickly and with more confidence.
foreign adversaries and bad actors engage in these attacks because they are easy to deny. we cannot allow that to shield those hostile actors from accountability. we have no doubt that russia and other malicious actors will target our elections and try to undermine our democracy. we must be able to call them out and make it clear that these actions are unacceptable. states should consider implementing more audits of election results. americans need to be confident that their vote and only their vote is what counts of electing our public leaders. audits go a long way in making sure voting systems are working as they should and that the integrity of our elections is
protected. the very quality that hostile actors seek to undermine. as we approach the midterm election in the next presidential election cycle, we need to act quickly to pass bipartisan recommendation into law to protect the integrity of the voting process. with that i'll wrap up my comments. >> what you will hear from this group is a commitment to several key facts. there's no question the russians were trying to metal and no question that states operate their own election. 's partnership between the government to get as much information as they can. we worked on legislation to try to put together some basic
recommendations. today and what tomorrow's hearing will focus on is getting the information out. to help articulate the issues. the last time it was the russians, it might not be the russians this time. they set a pattern that others can follow. be north korea, the iranians, a domestic group that uses that same playbook. the key thing is notches protecting our elections and trying to work through that process. it's reasonable to be able to close those one abilities and work with states as they tried to determine what they may have to have addressed in the days ahead. . .
>> when they request that health and to do what we can to support that funding but what we don't know for sure is we have to provide this support to states as many cannot afford to update their equipment in a way to assure they have the ability to audit elections that is necessary through a paper trail. that is one of the best practices we are talking about
also in terms of making sure voter registration websites and all the others who are negotiating through the election process all have the best practices available based on the research we have done. for example to talk about the need for a panel of experts to establish election security guidelines and provide financial assistance to the states. and i will close by saying the urgency is clear. certainly looking at what happened in the past but also addressing the fact that currently we have an election upon us and it tells us the future will probably hold another set of threats. thank you.
>> i will call my colleagues back to the podium to take some of your questions. this is on election security we are not prepared to talk about the investigation and once again to reiterate that schedule to close out those areas of the investigation that we have exhausted the members needs and we should be about one month apart into the investigation. in taking the lead on this.
>> but the number is 380 million somewhere define them any? >> so let me we had a rate -- reiterate most have elections but some do not have those systems but is our desire to fully fund these elections within the individual states there are incentives to put in place but frankly going to the state leaders to say we want the election to be secure that is the primary piece. to every county and every state in america but it is
enough so there has been a lot of that through the indictments through the individuals and organizations and then to have those sanctions. >> he calls let him your pooch and to congratulate him on winning the election. [laughter] vladimir putin. >> but stress but any different from 2013? >> we are working on that.
and that was an issue requiring immediate attention so we do have sustained improvements with the resources and also detection a lot of that has to be focused and for those systems to deter hacking on that if filtration but that leads to another issue in terms of resilience to be detected immediately to share that information so we can respond as quickly as possible to mitigate any damage but the work that has happened to recognize between
the intelligence community and the state that is why the focus has been on what we need to do to give clearances to state officials to have access to classified information to allow them to prioritize and not only to audit but better practices so we are talking that it is probably best you do not have your election system connected to the internet because that is greater vulnerability and now we talk about paper ballots. my state going back to when we can have something tangible. and then to be connected to the internet.
with that cybersecurity hygiene of their equipment then it needs to be established as well so everybody knows what all parties are talking about. >> this is about maintaining the confidence of what we shared during 2016 the whole point what you are hearing repeatedly with regard to the paper trail and the audit is to match up your physical records with electronic records and as well -- as long as they match up then we have every confidence your vote is counted. >> let me just say in conclusion you have always the questions of what else could happen? with that capability that you have a threat so as the
senator said russia isn't the only one who has capabilities. and probably not the only one that has an intent but clearly the russians have intent to cause chaos and the capabilities to do it and it is all of the above so we work with states to duplicate the ability from the federal government and working with the cybersystem when attacks take place as conscious as the private sector is, sat with cybersecurity there are companies in america that are attacked every day so i do know how you look at the election system to think it is different other than this is a company with one mission and how they just build around the one thing the last thing.
we have a hearing tomorrow rain or shine or snow i can assure you we will make and have a hearing so the technical folks at the dhs that talk about what has happened and what we need to do and what we still need to do and the top state officials i'm not sure the platform what we could present to give you a clearer picture whether the assessment is right or the recommendations are right but that hearing tomorrow will be followed up at some first as a declassified overview but then depending on how long it takes to declassify that we will make it available for the public with whatever documentation we can provide.
>> thanks to the members who have been doing a lot of work and members of the committee this really has been all hands on deck effort and i think tomorrow you will see where rarely do we have three panels on a hearing that we will try on this effort and on what level of security? i can tell you even though it was a scramble to make sure every voting machine in the 2017 elections had that audit paper trail and had a lot of credibility we didn't have those concerns we had heard in the past so i think some of these recommendations will be turned into legislation and we need to act on that b5