These days most republicans still aren’t sure whether or not Russia played any sort of role in the 2016 presidential election, but some do seem to believe that Moscow might have been responsible for hacking democrat computers, which caused thousands of emails to be released. Some of the emails that were leaked probably hurt the chances of Hillary winning the race, but her lack of campaigning in states like Wisconsin certainly didn’t help at all.
Some of the most recent news to come out strongly indicates that Russia’s involvement in disrupting the presidential election went far beyond just news stories. Based on the news that has been coming out so far, it’s very possible that a number of voting systems were hacked to increase the odds of Trump winning, which of course he did.
According to a report from the Intercept, the Russian government was directly responsible for hacking a company in the U.S. that designs voting software. The person who initially provided this information to the news outlet was taken into custody shortly after the story broke. There was also a report from Bloomberg that Russia played a pivotal role in the recent presidential election’s outcome.
A number of people who have important information about the investigation into these cyber attacks said that voter databases as well as software systems in up to 39 U.S. states could have been hacked. When this story originally came out, it was believed that only around 20 states might have been affected by the cyber attacks.
Suspicions of a cyber attack were first aroused when a contractor working for the Illinois state board of elections started seeing data being extracted from the network. This strongly indicates that voter data was either changed or even erased altogether by hackers. At least one hacker was able to access voter information for 90,000 different American voters. Part of what is so worrisome about this is that the information included personal details, such as the driver’s licenses and names of each voter.
The U.S. government launched an initial investigation into these cyber attacks, ultimately revealing that four out of five voting systems in the affected U.S. states had been compromised. What is currently not clear is how much of a difference this made with the final results of the election.
One Bloomberg reporter stated that at least 37 states had determined that there was some sort of cyber attack based on concrete evidence. California and Florida were just two of the states to claim that they discovered proof of a malicious cyber attack on their voting systems.
The flood of new cyber attack evidence from numerous states seems to back up the intelligence report that was leaked by an anonymous source. Within this report was the assertion that Russian military intelligence had gained access to a Florida-based voting company’s databases. This company has contracts in a number of different states, including West Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, and New York.
When the Obama administration had learned about the numerous cyber attacks on U.S. voting systems and databases, they immediately sent a secure message to Moscow. The administration communicated their position that their country’s government was responsible for compromising the election, at least in some small part.
James Comey, who was the director of the FBI at the time, testified at a senate intelligence committee recently. Comey stated that it was likely that we haven’t seen the end of Russia’s clandestine meddling in U.S affairs. He stated “They will be back,” indicating in an ominous tone that there is most likely more of the same to come in the near future.
Despite the mounting evidence of Russia’s clear involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the Kremlin has denied such accusations time and time again. Russian president Vladmir Putin has stated that the U.S.’s accusations are both insulting and baseless. Putin has suggested that if there was interference with the U.S. election by Russia, it was a lone “patriotic” hacker.
Based on the reports of technology tampering from numerous U.S. states, it seems likely that Russia could have played a larger role in influencing the presidential election than the public once believed.