Nielsen calls out Putin for election interference

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by nam...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 4:00 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 4:00 PM

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name for interfering in the 2016 US election, calling it a "direct attack" on US democracy.

"At Vladimir Putin's direction, Moscow launched a brazen, multi-faceted influence campaign to undermine public faith in our democratic process and to distort our presidential election," Nielsen said at George Washington University in Washington. "Although no actual ballots were altered by this campaign, make no mistake: This was a direct attack on our democracy."

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Nielsen continued that the administration "will not tolerate" such interference nor "let it happen again."

Nielsen has spoken out repeatedly on election interference but has faltered when asked directly whether the interference was designed to help President Donald Trump get elected. Nielsen has said she "agree(s) with the intel community's assessment, full stop," an assessment that concluded the interference was done with the intention of bolstering Trump and harming his opponent, Hillary Clinton, politically.

But at the Aspen Security Forum in July, she said, "I haven't seen any evidence that the attempts to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party."

Trump himself has repeatedly wavered on Russian interference, at times reading statements that he blames Russia for the interference, but then returning to casting doubt on the intelligence findings, including referring often to a "Russian hoax."

Nielsen said her agency is working with others to counteract the threat, including by trying to address propaganda-like influence campaigns on social media and the Internet.

"We're not trying to stop freedom of speech, but we do have a belief in this country that we want to know or at least have a sense of knowing who is saying what and if we're being manipulated," she said.

Nielsen also indicated there would be consequences for cybermeddling, though she did not get into specifics. She noted responses including "some seen, others unseen."

"We will no longer naively assume that a nation state with cyber capabilities chooses not to use them," Nielsen said. "We will respond. And we will respond decisively. ... The days of cybersurrender are over. And this administration is replacing complacency with consequences, replacing nations' deniability with accountability."

DHS has also been working with states that accept their help to test cyberdefences. She encouraged all states to have voting systems by 2020 that can be audited, preferably by a paper trail.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 7389
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Hennepin1230751733
Ramsey51592876
Dakota46084452
Anoka41891440
Washington27009283
Stearns22311222
St. Louis17841305
Scott17336126
Wright16136140
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Carver1052045
Clay817292
Rice8084108
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Crow Wing667890
Kandiyohi657783
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Otter Tail576378
Benton572997
Goodhue479172
Douglas469576
Mower466832
Winona455150
Itasca442256
McLeod425659
Isanti425364
Morrison419860
Nobles408148
Beltrami398659
Steele389815
Polk384968
Becker381453
Lyon361351
Carlton346254
Freeborn342129
Pine329322
Nicollet326843
Brown306140
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Todd282932
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Meeker258240
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Marshall88117
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Big Stone6004
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Norman5409
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Red Lake3997
Traverse3705
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Cases: 367499

Reported Deaths: 5946
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57719628
Linn20916335
Scott20082242
Black Hawk15828308
Woodbury15148228
Johnson1450183
Dubuque13384209
Dallas1119598
Pottawattamie11143168
Story1063048
Warren578089
Clinton556193
Cerro Gordo541489
Sioux514574
Webster512593
Marshall483375
Muscatine4819100
Des Moines459166
Wapello4306122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419472
Plymouth401280
Lee376155
Marion363275
Jones299257
Henry292237
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Bremer285160
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Benton256555
Washington254150
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Kossuth215564
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Delaware209741
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Butler165234
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Lyon158241
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Iowa149024
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