New Delhi: “Russian hackers targeted the election systems in 21 states in 2016 US Presidential elections”, a Homeland Security Department official told Congress on Wednesday. Jeanette Manfra, the department’s acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that they had proof of the hacking and though the systems were certainly breached, there was no evidence of manipulation.
Russia has repeatedly denied the allegation of launching cyber attacks during the polls. However, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russians had a role in the campaigning and elections. The intelligence agencies also said that Russians’ efforts included email hacking and online propaganda to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Trump, meanwhile, said that the Russians may or may not have been involved in the elections but has very clearly rejected the claims of his associates colluding with Russia.
Jeanette Manfra mentioned that US elections are resilient to hacking because they take place in a largely decentralized manner and are operated at the state and local level. Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who supports the Democrats, however, voiced skepticism, saying only a small number of votes in key battleground states would need to be altered to tip the scales in an election.
On June 16th , Trump had confirmed that he was being investigated for his alleged role in Russian meddling into the US election in November 2016. The Republican had called it a “witch hunt” and said that even after seven months of investigations; nobody had been able to prove that he had colluded with Russia.