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October 2020


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: elections

FBI Believes Russian Hackers Penetrated At Least One Florida County’s Computers

By Steve Neavling

The FBI concluded Russian hackers breached “at least one” Florida county government as part of an operation to infiltrate the state’s computer systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The findings were revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which was released Thursday.

Mueller reported that Russia’s military intelligence agency was able to “gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.”

Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, attempted to breach other counties’ systems in Florda by sending spearphishing emails to more than 120 email accounts operated by Florida county election officials.

“We understand the FBI believes the operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” Mueller’s report states.

The report did not indicate whether any of Florida’s election results were compromised. Mueller said the FBI and Homeland Security were investigating the incidents.

Florida is a key swing state in presidential elections.

Russia Expected to Ramp Up Campaign to Meddle in America’s Mid-Term Elections

By Steve Neavling

U.S. intelligence agencies warned Congress that Russia is expected to ramp up its campaign to meddle in America’s midterm elections in July.

The agencies issued a worldwide threat assessment that predicts Russia will use hackers and social media to target the elections. 

“We assess that the Russian intelligence services will continue their efforts to disseminate false information via Russian state-controlled media and covert online personas about U.S. activities to encourage anti-U.S. political views,” the assessment reads.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was emboldened by its ability to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations,” Coats said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is likely to increase his use of repression and intimidation to contend with domestic discontent over corruption, poor social services, and a sluggish economy with structural deficiencies,” according to the assessment.

Russia Will Try Harder to Influence Next Prez Election, FBI Director Predicts

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel

It’s no secret that Russia has tried to influence elections around the world for many years.

But 2016 appeared to be banner year for the Russians when it came to the U.S. election.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, addressing a crowd of about 150 people at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, said he expects the U.S. to be better prepared to deal with threats in the 2018 and 2020 elections, Max Kutner of Newsweek reports.

That’s the good news.

The bad news: He says anticipates Russia will also be better prepared to go at it again.

“We know a lot more now than we did about all the different threats, whether it’s to our election systems or anything else,” the director said when asked about Russia. “I would expect that we would do better, but I also expect that our adversaries don’t just coast, right? They up their game, too.”

Homeland Security Detected No Evidence of Cyberattacks During Election

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling

Fears that hackers would target the U.S. election were assuaged late Tuesday after no evidence of attacks or intrusions were suspected.

Homeland Security said it fielded no reports of cyber breaches, the USA Today reports. 

Still, the threat of a cyberattack appeared to discourage voters, who expressed much less confidence that their vote would count, according to exit polls.

“All the discussions this year about security gave states another measure of protection,” said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy.

Contentious Senate Hearings Expected When Obama Names Replacement for AG Holder

By Steve Neavling

Whoever is going to succeed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is likely to face a contentious Senate, the Washington Post reports.

Some Republicans even called for a delay because of the potential of midterm elections swinging in favor of the GOP in November.

“Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced,” Sen. Ted Cruz said.

Democrats urged Republicans to let Obama make his selection without the drama.

“This is going to be the first real test, whether it’s in the lame-duck or early in the new year, whether our Republican colleagues are going to continue to obstruct,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday in an interview. “Every president deserves to have his attorney general.”

Obama has yet to indicate when he will replace Holder.

Republican Candidates Run Wild with FBI Falsehoods, Associated Press Finds

By Danny Fenster

Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman told a group of Republican faithfuls on Oct. 28 that “Obama is allowing terror suspect groups to write the FBI’s terror training manual,” a wildly false statement, according to the Associated Press.

But that didn’t stop other Republican hopefuls from repeating the claims, reports the Associated Press in a story published on the Washington Post website. This past weekend primary candidate Newt Gingrich told a Des Moines, Iowa veterans’ forum that the Obama administration “issued instructions, for example, that in developing training papers on terrorism that no mention should be made of radical Islam.”

The latest, according to AP, was fellow candidate  Rick Santorum’s statement, made to another Des Moine crowd, that Obama “actually ordered all references to Islam and Muslim sanitized out of our national security documents.”

The statement’s stem from FBI efforts to deal with problems that arose when it came to light that an FBI instructor was giving lectures highly critical of Islam. Investigating the matter, the FBI found a small amount of inappropriate material–suggestions that mainstream American Muslims are terrorist sympathizers, for example–and immediately got rid of it, AP reported.

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