We care about election integrity they said...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Here4money, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Here4money


    inb4 insignificant voter fraud is a bigger threat


    Trump’s DHS Guts Task Forces Protecting Elections From Foreign Meddling
    “It’s very curious why the leadership has not committed resources to prepare for the 2020 election,” one DHS official tells The Daily Beast.

    Two teams of federal officials assembled to fight foreign election interference are being dramatically downsized, according to three current and former Department of Homeland Security officials. And now, those sources say they fear the department won’t prepare adequately for election threats in 2020.

    “The clear assessment from the intelligence community is that 2020 is going to be the perfect storm,” said a DHS official familiar with the teams. “We know Russia is going to be engaged. Other state actors have seen the success of Russia and realize the value of disinformation operations. So it’s very curious why the task forces were demoted in the bureaucracy and the leadership has not committed resources to prepare for the 2020 election.”

    The task forces, part of the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), were assembled in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. One focuses in part on securing election infrastructure and the other focuses on foreign influence efforts, including social media disinformation campaigns

    One of the task forces is now half the size it was a few months ago, according to two DHS officials familiar with the task forces, and there’s no indication that DHS senior political leadership will staff it up or sustain it. Instead, there are concerns it will completely wither away. The other task force also shrunk significantly shortly after the midterms, according to that official, and before its members produced a thorough assessment of what happened during the 2018 elections.

    “Our key allies are wondering why the U.S. is not more coordinated and not more proactive in dealing with this,” said the DHS official. “They don’t understand why the U.S. is not getting its act together.”

    A DHS spokesperson confirmed that some people have been taken off the task forces and moved to other roles in the department. The spokesperson added that the department is bringing on new people to do election security work.

    “As recently as this morning, Director Krebs confirmed election security remains a priority for CISA in his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, laying out the Agency’s plan to work with State and local election officials on broader engagement, better defining risk to election systems, and understanding the resources to manage that risk,” said Sara Sendek, the DHS spokesperson.

    "In the run up to the 2018 elections, DHS staffed the newly created elections task force and countering foreign influence task force by temporarily assigning personnel from across the Department. The work of these taskforces continues to this day and is being institutionalized as a permanent effort. While some of the personnel who were brought on to serve on these task forces in temporary assignments have returned to their regular roles, we are also currently hiring new employees into permanent election positions to build out our team and support our efforts for 2020 and beyond,” Sendek added.

    One lawmaker with knowledge of the formation of CISA said the task forces were never intended to be permanent.

    “In some sense it’s not surprising that these changes are happening,” he said. “There was nothing set in stone that said these teams were going to stay in formation. At least that was my understanding.”

    Others said they found the change concerning.

    “The Trump administration intelligence chiefs in their worldwide threat assessment clearly stated that the use of the influence operations from countries like Russia, China and Iran pose a significant threat to the country,” said John Cohen, the former deputy under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS. “If these reports are true, it’s highly disturbing that the department and the administration is not more focused on dealing with that threat.”

    The election task force has worked to shield election infrastructure from foreign efforts to change vote counts. And the foreign influence task force is working to publicly reveal efforts by foreign actors to shape American political discourse on social media—in the hopes of significantly expanding Americans’ understanding of the threat. It was also designed to improve DHS’s coordination with foreign allies who face the same threat, and to help DHS better alert the private sector about threats.

    The changes to the task forces may make it harder for them to realize those goals, current and former officials say.

    “It won’t be 2016 all over again—the threat is changing,” said a former DHS official. “A thinly staffed task force working on that is not going to be equipped to keep up with the adversary.”

    A few weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson determined that DHS was responsible for helping protect election infrastructure—meaning polling places, voting machines, voter databases, and all the other components that make elections happen. The new, complex undertaking involved scores of state and local governments. A few years in, the department is still getting its footing. So the changes detailed here have people close to the department deeply concerned.

    “Because it’s a very difficult task and because DHS has never done it before, there’s a lot of catching up to do,” said the former DHS official. “Even with a fully resourced effort, that would be an extremely tall task. But having it be deprioritized and lacking access to senior leadership, it’s virtually impossible.”

    That said, these changes appear to reflect the White House’s disinterest in beefing up election security, according to Paul Rosenzweig, formerly deputy assistant secretary for policy at DHS.

    “If the president isn’t interested and there is no strategy, it’s no surprise that DHS is not wasting its time,” said Rosenzweig, now a senior fellow at the R Street Institute. “The failure of the White House to take this seriously is perhaps its single most significant dereliction of duty.”

    The White House press briefing on Aug. 2, 2018 focused on election security, and the Trump administration has sanctioned Russian individuals and entities in retaliation for the 2016 election meddling.

    “Since the beginning of his administration, President Trump has implemented a whole-of-government approach to safeguard our nation’s elections,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time. “The President has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation-state or other dangerous actor.”

    Before the midterms, both task forces reported directly to Chris Krebs, the Senate-confirmed director of CISA. But after the midterms, that changed. Now, they report to an official who is much lower in the chain of command. The shift could seriously inhibit their effectiveness, according to one of the DHS officials, and suggests their work is not a top priority for DHS political leadership.

    Krebs testified on Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee. The hearing focused on election security infrastructure and partnerships between DHS and state election officials.

    Congressional staff reached out to CISA about the task forces before Krebs’ hearing as part of their preparation, according to a person with knowledge of the committee's work.

    But Krebs did not directly address the reorganization or the shrinking size of the CISA task forces. Instead, he said his team needed to do more to secure the upcoming 2020 elections.

    “While 2018 is behind us, the 2020 election season is already underway. We are clear eyed that the threat to our democratic institutions remain and we must continue to press for increased security,” he said. “Just like any other IT system, the election infrastructure bears additional securing and resilience measures.”

    Later in the hearing, Krebs said American voters need to be more sophisticated about disinformation campaigns.

    “We have to do more awareness building in this country as we’re just deluged with information,” he said. “We got to have people thinking, ‘Where is this information coming from? And why is it coming to me?’”

    Inside DHS, staffers are frustrated that emphasis on election security has dwindled as the focus on border security has exploded. One staffer told The Daily Beast that officials working on election security have discussed ways to get the message to the White House, but found no one willing to bring it up directly with Trump.

    “It’s very clear which direction we’re headed in DHS,” one staffer told The Daily Beast. “Everything, it seems, is dictated by someone higher up the chain who is making it abundantly clear to the rest of us that immigration and border security are the real focuses.”

    A member of the DHS Advisory Council, a group of individuals in the public and private sectors that provide the secretary with guidance on DHS policy, echoed those concerns. The member told The Daily Beast that the calls with Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen over the past six months have focused on the migrant caravan and the need for increased border security.

    “Increasingly, the administration’s own information seems to undercut their argument that conditions at the southern border represent a national security crisis,” Cohen said. “So, it’s unclear why they would focus more resources on the border than dealing with what the intelligence committee has identified as a sig national security threat.”
    exGOPer likes this.
  2. elderado


    Is this real life?

    WeToddDid2 likes this.
  3. Here4money


  4. smallfil


    Yeah, like the Democrats want honest and free and fair elections? These guys learned how to cheat from the Communists and Socialists! Funny, they are against Russia and Putin yet, support Socialism? You cannot make that stuff up! Here is what they do.

  5. Here4money



    Trump smashed months of FBI work to thwart election interference
    Trump's willingness to accept foreign assistance has essentially invited overseas spies to meddle with 2020 presidential campaigns, undoing months of work, said law enforcement veterans.

    The comments, according to interviews with nearly a dozen law enforcement veterans, have undone months of work, essentially inviting foreign spies to meddle with 2020 presidential campaigns and demoralizing the agents trying to stop them. And it has backed Wray into a corner, they added, putting him in a position where he might have to either publicly chastise the president and risk getting fired, or resign in protest.

    America’s enemies will see Trump’s comments and likely “come out of the woodwork like never before to try to influence the president,” said longtime FBI veteran Frank Figliuzzi, who served as the bureau’s assistant director for counterintelligence until 2012. “And it’s going to be more difficult to defend against because they’ll try harder than ever to mask their attempts.”

    “I cannot tell you how profoundly troubling this is to the core of my professional experience,” said a former longtime national security official.

    “It has to be demoralizing to some extent and confusing and, let’s face it, unprecedented, to have a commander in chief who has such a lack of fundamental understanding about the work the Justice Department and intelligence community do in this area,” added Greg Brower, the former top FBI liaison to Congress who served under Wray during his first months as director.

    “To flat out say the FBI director is wrong on this or any other issue is, in and of itself, stunning” Brower added. “It’s tougher for the leadership, the appointees of the president, who know the president is wrong, who have to wonder about his fundamental lack of understanding about what those agencies are doing.”

    Wray needs to join Barr “to have a discussion with [Trump], and if they don’t get a sense of comfort then they’ll have some hard decisions to make,” Baker said. “I don’t think they should run for the exits right away, but they can’t just ignore this one. This is potentially encouraging criminal activity and undermining federal law.”

    In the meantime, the message for the bureau’s rank and file is that everything should be business as usual, said David Laufman, a former top DOJ national security official who retired in 2018.

    “Notice is certainly taken within the ranks of the FBI and the intelligence community when the president of the United States says things that, on their face, are utterly antithetical to the common mission to protect our national security,” said Laufman, who had a key role overseeing the early stages of the FBI’s Russia investigation before Mueller’s appointment.

    “While off-the-cuff remarks made during an interview are not equivalent to executive orders,” he continued, “it seems to me very important for leadership at the FBI and in the intelligence community to reinforce with their agency personnel that nothing has changed in the agencies’ commitment to countering foreign influence operations.”