Former Homeland Security chief says Russian cyberattacks didn’t alter ballots

World Today

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies to the House Intelligence Committee task force on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, as part of the Russia investigation. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says cyberattacks orchestrated by the Russian government did not alter any ballots, ballot counts or the reporting of election results.

Johnson told the House Intelligence committee that he doesn’t know whether the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails and other Moscow-directed interference “did in fact alter public opinion, and thereby alter the outcome of the presidential election.”

Johnson told the panel that U.S. voting systems remain vulnerable to future cyberattacks, and urged lawmakers to grapple with the problem and to shield a pillar of American democracy.

He says, “We have to learn.”

“The Russians will be back” and possibly other “bad cyber actors,” too, to meddle in future elections, Johnson said.

Johnson also said that he wasn’t aware that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, asked Johnson if former FBI Director Jim Comey would have opened such an inquiry without any evidence for doing so.

Johnson says Comey would not have made such a move lightly.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy had earlier asked Johnson pointedly whether he knew of any evidence of possible collusion by the Trump campaign. Johnson says he not aware of any information beyond what’s been reported publicly and what the U.S. intelligence community has gathered.

Johnson served as DHS secretary from December 2013 to January 2017.

Story by The Associated Press