tv DHS Secretary Nielsen at Election Interference Briefing CSPAN May 26, 2018 1:52pm-2:08pm EDT
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] conversation] meeting -- it was a very full discussion answering all questions. of 2016, i was free to the classified setting by secretary then jay johnson and director clapper on the russian threat and meddling in our elections. i can tell you it was very clear and convincing evidence. congress, as i called upon them had a responsibility to act in response to this act of aggression by foreign adversaries. what the response was with the russian sanctions bill, a very tough sanctions package that for the first time did not include a national security waiver in it.
secretarycommend the who has been up on the hill multiple times to get classified briefings and open setting. to just testified in front of my committee and it's been very available to members of congress to help us as we move forward. as we look forward to the midterm elections in 2018, our concern is that not only russia but possibly the other foreign adversaries will start looking dle in they can me midterm elections. we were caught on guard last time. we need to be prepared in the midterm 2018. i have every confidence the secretary in the department of homeland security through its cyber operations will be able to protect the voting machines and protect american democratic process. with that, i would like to turn it over to the secretary. >> good morning. i want to start by thanking
chairman mccall for his support of the department of homeland security, his commitment and leadership is greatly appreciated by all of us. we thank him for that. this morning was the culmination of a series of briefings. we will continue to do them. we have taken opportunities to prevent classified levels. i've had a hearing that focused on election security. what we want to do today is make sure members of congress who were able to attend understand the different roles the federal government is playing. we all act in support of state and local governments. the responsibility for election security remains a state and local governments. we seek to be there partners whenever possible. we had a twofold objective. dhs has a federally for securing infrastructure when it comes to elections and other critical
infrastructure. the fbi has the lead on countering foreign influence, which we hear a lot about and is part and parcel to this conversation about the integrity of our elections. provided the threat overview for not just russia but other foreign actors seeking to do harm by undermining our electoral processes. we all share one very important goal, which is americans vote must count and must be counted correctly. we are working with state and local partners to do that. the second major objective was to ask congress to help us raise that awareness. to work with state and local officials and the state to ensure the state and local officials haven't they need, whether they take advantage of the many offerings dhs provides, giving -- using third parties or growing organic capabilities. we did provide a full resource guide.
has many offerings we are providing. everything from exercises to information sharing to hygiene scans and vulnerability assessments. we created governing structures and partnerships your we are here to help, so we are continuing to have a to see what state and locals need and how to help them as best we can. we all remain committed. we take it very seriously. there is nothing more important than the integrity of our democracy and help we can work together to ensure we ensure the integrity of our electoral system. with that, we will take a few questions here >> -- questions here at >> how confident are you that if an outside actor does tamper, you will be able to detect that real-time? >> i can assure you we are doing everything we can. what we are encouraging states to do is think about it from a
redundancy perspective. we want to make sure we can go back and verify the results. the will be deploying people. we are working with state and locals. we have ways to real-time to machine intelligence understand threat indicators as they are introduced into the system. we want to make sure if there are any questions raised, weiner have paper bal -- we either have paper ballots or auditing systems. >> you think the president calling everything involving russia, no collusion, dampens the message you are trying to send that this is a big problem in congress and state to take this seriously? >> i don't. i think the president has been clear that he agrees with the intel community that the russians did attempt to hack or otherwise their cyber means influence our elections. he remains committed here today to make sure the administration is doing everything we can to address that.
>> do you have any reason to doubt the january 2017 -- to help president trump? >> i do not believe i have seen that conclusion. that the specific intent was to help president trump win, i'm not aware of that. i have no reason to doubt the intelligence assessment. the focus has been on social media manipulation and the intel community -- do you have any reason to think the 2018 election will look any different with social media manipulation? >> i think -- i think we remain concerned on the foreign influence side. we have seen that continually. whether it is after events in syria or england recently, we
see that continuing. i will continue to hunker down on that. with respect infrastructure, the week are concerned about foreign adversaries using their cyber capabilities to affect the elections. that is why we are putting in layers and layers of security. i want to comment on this. but we have seen the russians do is attempt to manipulate public confidence on both sides. we have seen them encourage people to go to a protest on one side. we have seen them simultaneously encourage people to go to a protest on the other side. ist they are trying to do disrupt our belief in our own understanding of what's happening. it's an integrity issue of who is saying what and why and how that may or may not affect an americans behavior in what they believe. >> [indiscernible] try to orchestrate a cyber
campaign -- do you have any disagreement with that? >> i do believe russia did and will continue to try to minute late americans perspective on a variety of issues. >> in terms of the ongoing election, d.c. specific actions by other actors to get involved in this election? >> i will defer to the intel community on that. right now you know intel there is a particular -- evidence russia is trying to influence the election? >> we see them continuing to conduct foreign influence campaigns, so yes. i think we can safely say in this day and age any nationstate of the capability to attack us through cyber means, it's our responsibility to be prepared for that. watching whore you
you are concerned about? >> multiple countries and the intel community can speak more broadly to this that have the capability to do this. we think about china, iran, russia. we are continuing to watch. any agency that has the capability, i think we would be very naive if we make the assumption they would not use it. we need to be prepared. >> the fbi and dni the authority to brief lawmakers on classified information, including the fbi investigation into the russian influence. [indiscernible] the intel community is very careful in any briefing not to endanger their sources. in that particular one, i defer to them. they know about the relative risks of being transparent and
protecting our intel. there is an inspector general investigation into that matter. i think that is what the director will tell you on that. i think the ultimate objective, russia and other foreign adversaries is to create chaos and undermine our confidence in our democratic system. not that they are picking sides . i think they are trying to create create chaos. by getting involved in this campaign information warfare. we saw it take place in the last election. members of congress are concerned about direct threats to them going into 2018 and the abilities to manipulate information going forward. so i want to thank the secretary and the department for its hard work to help protect the integrity of our election system and provide the security necessary. i think it's important to note
that none of the votes were changed. most of the machines were unplugged from the internet which gives a safeguard protection from the internet cyber influence. the data rules could possibly be manipulated. we are worried about that moving forward, but i feel confidence the head of mppd, and the secretary will do everything within their power to protect our system. >> we were told only 40 or 50 of -- members of the senate were in the briefing. are you worried that your colleagues may not be taking this seriously? >> it was 8:00. they have been talking a lot about this issue. we were a little surprised that not as many showed up, but everybody who did was given the opportunity to ask any question they wanted. i thought the witnesses gave a very full response to all the questions. again, we have seen a lot of cooperation with the dhs, fbi
and dni to provide information we need to protect the 2018 midterm elections. >> there have been criticisms of the obama administration that they did not raise the alarm loud enough. do you think raising the alarm loud enough -- >> i have and i think the secretary has as well. i go back to 2016, october, gang of eight briefing i had. i encouraged them to come forward and call up the russians for what they were doing and it should be consequences to their interference. unfortunately that was not done. i think we're seeing them called out now by the congress with sanctions, and very harsh sanctions as well. the more the secretary talks about this and myself to raise public awareness if it's happening, i prosecuted the johnny chung case. this is nothing new.
they just have a new tool, the internet. i think we have to be very, very aware and cautious in the forward to protect our american democratic system. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> last week, georgetown university professor michael eric dyson, michelle goldberg, stephen fry, a clinical psychologist jordan peterson debated political correctness. from the biannual debates in toronto, tonight at 9:30 eastern on c-span. c-span's washington journal, lived every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up sunday morning, eleanor clift in the washington times cheryl chumley. about the political news of the day.
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on friday at 8:00 p.m., jimmy carter, betsy devos, representative mark meadows, and mayor peter lance bottoms. that on c-span and c-span.org, and on the free c-span radio app. after nearly two years in a venezuelan prison, american joshua holt is returning to the u.s. he and his wife are charged by venezuelan authorities with stockpiling weapons and spying. both of been released and are expected to arrive in washington later today. president trump responded by tweeting, "good news about the release of the american hostage from venezuela. should be landing in d.c. this evening and be at the white house with his family at about 7:00 p.m. the great people of utah will be very happy." utah senator orrin hatch is working on his release for the last two years, and says in a