Politics & Government

‘Putin is not our friend.’ Buchanan responds to Florida’s Russian hacking scandal

I hacked an election. So can the Russians.

It’s time America’s leaders got serious about voting security.
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It’s time America’s leaders got serious about voting security.

Following news that the FBI will not disclose the names of two Florida counties affected by a Russian hacking campaign, Rep. Vern Buchanan came out against the foreign interference.

“Vladimir Putin is not our friend,” the Republican congressman said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “He will keep doing this until we take swift and firm action to safeguard our system.

“His goal is to disrupt our electoral system and undermine our democracy. U.S. intelligence agencies are the best in the world and need our support to crack down on Russia and anyone else who threatens us,” Buchanan continued.

Gov. Ron DeSantis first announced that two counties had their voter databases hacked during the 2016 election at a press conference Tuesday. Now, other Florida lawmakers are being briefed by the agency, but the information remains classified.

In his report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicated that his investigation into Russian interference revealed that at least one Florida county’s voter-registration network had been accessed by hackers. According to Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett, Manatee County wasn’t one of them.

“This revelation that two Florida counties were hacked by Russians is a disturbing reminder that our county remains vulnerable to cyber threats originating thousands of miles away,” Buchanan said. “We need to take a multi-pronged, bipartisan approach to prevent such interference in 2020 and beyond.”

Top U.S. intelligence officials testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on cybersecurity threats, including Russia's hacking of the U.S. presidential election. An unclassified report will be released to the public next week