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The head of CISA does not see “specific or credible threats” to the electoral infrastructure

Washington – Jen Easterly, head of the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said on Sunday that her agency had not seen “specific or credible threats” to compromise election infrastructure until Election Day, now just over a week away.

“We have no information about specific or credible threats to disrupt or threaten the electoral infrastructure. I want to make that very clear,” Easterly said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “We release information, such as the alerts you mentioned, to ensure that state and local election officials have the information they need to protect their election systems and election infrastructure.”

Early voting for by-elections is already being held in many states, and more than 20 million people have already cast their votes. Last week, the federal government issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that domestic violence extremists across the ideological spectrum pose an “increased threat” to the midterms.

A bulletin from a group of federal agencies, which was distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country, noted that potential targets of violence by domestic violence extremists include candidates running for public office, election officials and workers, political activists and representatives parties, among others.

While Easterly said she is confident the November election will be “safe and secure” and believes Americans should feel the same way about the integrity of elections in their states, the CISA chief acknowledged there are still concerns about voter intimidation and threats to election workers. .

“It’s a very complex threat environment,” she said. “You have cyber threats, you have insider threats, you have rampant misinformation. And so, very disturbingly, you have threats of harassment, intimidation and violence against election officials, polling stations and voters. Let’s be really clear. This has to stop. “

Easterly said the behavior was “unacceptable” and “undemocratic” and called for cooperation and coordination between all levels of government to ensure the security of the by-election.

“These elections, election officials, are not faceless behind-the-scenes bureaucrats,” she said. “These are our relatives, our friends, our neighbors. They are in our community. They are dedicated public servants who work day in and day out to ensure election security, and they deserve not only our support, but our admiration. and respect and they deserve to be safe. And we all have a responsibility to ensure a safe and secure environment.”

In addition to threats from domestic violent extremists ahead of Election Day, Easterly also warned of cyber threats from nation-states and cybercriminals, as well as disinformation campaigns by foreign actors to sow discord, undermine confidence in electoral systems and exploit weaknesses to inciting violence.

As with Russia in 2016, China and Iran were also behind influence operations, which Easterly said underscored the importance of voters turning to “proxy voices” such as local and state election officials to understand who the election is working for. in their states.

“When you see information on the Internet, you’re not sure if it’s true, be critical of it, ask questions, look at the source, research it and don’t spread that information more widely and basically give foreign adversaries a chance to manipulate Americans, sow discord and cause a lack of confidence in our elections,” Easterly said.


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