DHS tells Calif., Wis., Russians targeted networks other than election systems

After alerting officials in 21 states that hackers affiliated with the Russian government targeted their election systems during the 2016 presidential election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Wednesday told California and Wisconsin that instead the hackers actually had aimed at other networks in their systems.

“Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.

The states had pressed DHS for official confirmation that their systems were targeted but the agency had been slow to respond.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., had called the delay “unacceptable” and pledged that the Senate Intelligence Committee on which he's the vice chairman would press on in its investigation of activities during the 2016 election.

“We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information,” DHS Deputy Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate Bob Kolasky said after the 21 states were alerted, according to the Washington Post.

Hackers still could have targeted the systems in California and Wisconsin, the Associated Press cited DHS spokesperson Scott McConnell as saying, since “discussions of specific IP addresses do not provide a complete picture of potential targeting activity.”

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