Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 Bush announced the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
“The mission of the Office will be to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch’s efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States,” an executive order issued on October 8, 2001 states.
Since that time the DHS has grown to become the largest Cabinet department with a quarter of a million employees and as many of if not more contractors. It has absorbed twenty two security related agencies, including those responsible for border protection and immigration. It also coordinates on cybersecurity.
On Tuesday Obama ordered the CIA’s Foreign Denial and Deception Committee to investigate the hacking of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. The Illinois hack occurred in late July. It brought down the state’s voter registration for 10 days and compromised data on as many as 200,000 registered voters. The Arizona intrusion was less significant. It allegedly introduced malware into the voter registration system but data was not stolen.
The establishment media immediately fixed blame on Russia as it did following the DNC hack that embarrassed Democrats and brought down DNC boss Debbie Wassermann Schultz.
The claim was made despite an admission by the FBI it has no idea who is responsible. Regardless, the “consensus among U.S. intelligence analysts is that Russia is seeking to undermine confidence in the U.S. system, using the hacks into the Democratic National Committee, state election systems and other targets that have yet to be made public, as part of a larger campaign,” NBC reports.
— Cyber Crime Chambers (@cybercrimechamb) August 19, 2016
The FBI says foreign hackers accessed state election databases, but some states aren’t interested in DHS security. https://t.co/3B6dXWb4G3
— Defense One (@DefenseOne) August 29, 2016
Prior to the voter database hack the DHS said during media conference hosted by the Christian Science Monitor it plans to centralize and control the voting system.
“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he said.
Johnson faced criticism following his remarks. He was asked by Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler if there was indeed a threat to the voting system and Johnson said there was not.
“That confirms what another high-level source who attended a White House meeting last week said – that DHS officials admitted they had no evidence of any ‘credible threat’ of a cyber-attack,” Hans von Spakovsky wrote for the Conservative Review on August 17. “But designating the nation’s election system as ‘critical infrastructure’ under a post 9/11 federal statute may be a way for the administration to get Justice Department lawyers, the FBI, and DHS staff into polling places they would otherwise have no legal right to access, which would enable them to interfere with election administration procedures around the country.”
A few days later the voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois were breached.
The move to centralize and federalize the voting system adds credence to Donald Trump’s claim the vote this November will be rigged against him.