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Georgia Sec. Of State Blasts “Fake News”; Says Media Biggest Threat To Democracy Not Russian Hackers

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Zero Hedge
July 4, 2017

Back in December, the Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, publicly blasted the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security for repeated attempts to hack into his state’s election system.  Kemp figured the attempts were nothing more than an effort to expose security flaws in state election systems so that Homeland Security could designate all election systems as “Critical Infrastructure” and seize control in a massive “federal power grab.”  Here is a recap from our previous post:

Last week we noted a letter from Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, to the Department of Homeland Security questioning why someone with a DHS IP address (216.81.81.80) had attempted to hack into his state’s election database on November 15, 2016 at 8:43AM.  Now, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta, we learn that Georgia’s election systems were actually the target of hacking by DHS on 10 separate occasions.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.

In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency’s network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.

“We’re being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody’s really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. “We need to know.”

Kemp told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant his office’s cybersecurity vendor discovered the additional so-called vulnerability scans to his network’s firewall after a massive mid-November cyberattack triggered an internal investigation.

Meanwhile, Kemp pointed out that all of the attempted hackings occurred around critical registration and voting deadlines calling into question whether “somebody was trying to prove a point.”

But while the election, and the Obama administration, are now long gone, Kemp’s fight to protect his state’s election infrastructure from being taken over by the feds is still going full steam.  That said, it’s not the Obama administration’s hacking efforts that has Kemp worried these days, it’s “misinformation from the media” which he now says is the biggest threat to Democracy.  Below is an excerpt from an opinion piece that Kemp published in the USA Today:

Misinformation from the media or disgruntled partisans not only fuels conspiracy theorists but also erodes the first safeguard we have in our elections — the public’s trust. Failing to respect this process with accurate reporting is a disservice to the American people.

To be candid, the most plausible and potentially effective attack on our elections is not by hacking the vote — it is through the manipulation of the American media machine. With “breaking news” that generates voter confusion, these baseless attacks and inaccurate stories enhance voter apathy and erode our confidence in the cornerstone of our democracy. That’s the real story.

Kemp goes on to lament about the number of calls he’s now forced to field on a daily basis from “misinformed” reporters that have no interest in learning the facts about his state’s election infrastructure but rather seek to “dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system.”

For years, we have run our elections with little interest from the press. But during last year’s presidential election, everything changed with the news media’s obsession with Russian meddling.

Now, we are bombarded with questions about election security from reporters on tight deadlines. Their questions often reflect a complete misunderstanding of voting systems and what safeguards are in place to keep them secure.

As reporters chase stories to feed the 24-hour news cycle, they dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system. The prevailing plot line is that states like Georgia can’t provide suitable security for elections.

Many news media elite think federal oversight is the answer. Republican and Democratic secretaries of state disagree. A “critical infrastructure” designation is simply a big government power grab.

Of course, while we can’t argue with the logic, we somehow doubt Kemp’s opinion will sway CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of “Russian hacking.”

* * *

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Below is Kemp’s full opinion piece from the USA Today:

As Georgia’s secretary of state, I have worked tirelessly to ensure our state’s elections are secure, accessible and fair.

For years, we have run our elections with little interest from the press. But during last year’s presidential election, everything changed with the news media’s obsession with Russian meddling.

Now, we are bombarded with questions about election security from reporters on tight deadlines. Their questions often reflect a complete misunderstanding of voting systems and what safeguards are in place to keep them secure.

As reporters chase stories to feed the 24-hour news cycle, they dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system. The prevailing plot line is that states like Georgia can’t provide suitable security for elections.

Many news media elite think federal oversight is the answer. Republican and Democratic secretaries of state disagree. A “critical infrastructure” designation is simply a big government power grab.

Informed, non-partisan experts agree that manipulating a presidential election makes a good TV storyline but lacks real-world standing. State voting systems are diverse, highly scrutinized and not connected to the Internet. Web-based attacks on voter registration do not affect the vote count. The thing that matters most — your vote — is secure.

Misinformation from the media or disgruntled partisans not only fuels conspiracy theorists but also erodes the first safeguard we have in our elections — the public’s trust. Failing to respect this process with accurate reporting is a disservice to the American people.

To be candid, the most plausible and potentially effective attack on our elections is not by hacking the vote — it is through the manipulation of the American media machine. With “breaking news” that generates voter confusion, these baseless attacks and inaccurate stories enhance voter apathy and erode our confidence in the cornerstone of our democracy. That’s the real story.

Are states doing enough to keep our elections secure? Yes.

Anything to the contrary is fake news.

This article was posted: Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 6:21 am





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