Members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released recommendations today for steps that the Department of Homeland Security, and state and local election officials, should take to secure voting infrastructure from foreign tampering.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee identifies numerous most important steps in protecting America's election infrastructure from hostile foreign powers", said Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program.
Mark Warner of Virginia on Tuesday largely reiterate concerns previously expressed by senators, cybersecurity experts, and state and local election officials.
The Senate intelligence committee's report includes a recommendation that "the intelligence community should put a high priority on attributing cyber attacks both quickly and accurately", and that DHS should create "clear channels of communication" between the federal government and the states.
"One of the most frustrating things is that in the aftermath of the hacking, it took the Department of Homeland Security almost nine months nine months to notify the top election officials that their states and systems had been messed with", Warner said.
Just months before the country's next general election, USA senators said Russian cyber attacks on the voting system were unabated and called for urgent action and funding on Tuesday to help states battle foreign attempts to intervene in US democracy.
Russian agents targeted 21 states in the 2016 presidential election, according to the DHS.
The committee's initial findings amounted to the most comprehensive and bipartisan recommendations to improve election cyber security since 2016.
Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, reminded those present that the committee is only making recommendations and those are not something voters should expect will come out of the committee legislatively. Overall, experts say far too little has been done to shore up those vulnerabilities in 10,000 USA voting jurisdictions that mostly run on obsolete and imperfectly secured technology. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted states to the threat.
Other states, including Georgia, are weighing legislation this year that would implement risk-limiting audits. Kamala Harris of California and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, rolled out a number of recommendations Congress should ensure the stability and security of the nation's election infrastructure going forward.
There's no evidence that any hack in the November 2016 election affected election results, but the attempts scared state election officials who sought answers about how their systems had been potentially compromised. He has called the probes a "witch hunt", though he recently said that his administration would counteract any attempt to meddle in this year's vote. DHS took almost a year to inform the affected states of hacking attempts or suspicious cyberactivity, blaming it in part on a lack of security clearances. "Let me say this with a great deal of confidence".
At the hearing Wednesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and current Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will both testify.
Senate Intelligence conducted what is widely regarded as the least partisan congressional investigation of the allegations interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump's chances.
Burr said the committee is preparing to release reports one by one on four different subjects it's investigating, but he has meticulously avoided addressing the collusion question that has roiled President Donald Trump amid the multiple probes on Russian Federation. Though that is one part of the panel's investigation, Burr and Warner have chose to focus on less controversial issues where all members agree.