"We were able to determine that the scanning and probing of voter registration databases was coming from the Russian government… we saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated," Jeanette Manfra, the cybersecurity chief at the Department of Homeland Security, told NBC News Thursday.
But this is both old news and fake news, Joe Lauria, author of "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton" and a longtime United Nations reporter, told Radio Sputnik.
"The story has been debunked. It's an old story. It was first broken on September 16," Lauria told Loud & Clear. "Why is this story back in the news now? And you have to ask this question. I think it shows the bankruptcy of the whole Russiagate controversy, the whole story, because they don't have anything new to say. It's been 18 or 19 months since we first heard that Russia hacked the DNC and that they had somehow turned the election for Donald Trump. And we have seen absolutely no convincing evidence of that."
Just months ago, DHS National Programs Security Chief Christopher Krebs told the House of Representatives the allegations of voter database hacking were completely false. "Not a single of the 21 states were actually attacked," Krebs said.
"The majority of the activity was simple scanning. Scanning happens all the time across the web… I would not describe that as an attack," he emphasized.
National group representing secretaries of state (the top election officials in most states) criticizes NBC News for reporting old information as new. pic.twitter.com/QYCnlyK1Ih— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) February 8, 2018
"So why are they recycling this now? Is it done intentionally, or do they have nothing better to say? NBC put this out as breaking news story yesterday — a debunked September 2017 story," Lauria said.
The narrative got legs when the Washington Post reported last September that DHS "contacted election officials in 21 states Friday to notify them that they had been targets of Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign."
The state officials who oversee these databases, however, said the DHS didn't know what it was talking about. "Following our request for further information, it became clear that DHS' conclusions were wrong," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla responded following the DHS' "notification" about "Russian hackers" compromising the state's databases.
"Our systems were protected and we had no incidences," Wisconsin Chief Information Officer David Cagigal fumed. "Either they were right on Friday and this is a cover up, or they were wrong on Friday and we deserve an apology."