Jeh Johnson Testifies: Russians Did Not Alter Ballot Counts

By Melanie Arter | June 21, 2017 | 11:32am EDT
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson taking the oath before testifying in the House intelligence committee, June 21, 2017. (Screen Capture)

( - Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday that the Russian government did not alter ballots, ballots counts, or the reporting of votes in last November's U.S. presidential election.

In his written testimony Johnson said, “To my current knowledge, the Russian government did not through any cyber intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results. I am not in a position to know whether the successful Russian government-directed hacks of the DNC and elsewhere did in fact alter public opinion and thereby alter the outcome of the presidential election."

During questioning by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Johnson confirmed that the Russians in no way altered any votes.

“You said in your opening statement, or in your prepared remarks, that to your knowledge, there was no vote-tallying changes--that no one’s vote was, they voted one way and it was recorded some other way. Is that still your opinion with respect to the ‘16 election that the intrusions or attempted whatever it is the Russians or others did not affect the actual voting itself?” Conaway asked.

“Based on everything I know, that is correct. I know of no evidence that through cyber intrusions votes were altered or suppressed in some way,” Johnson said.

Conaway noted that Johnson had designated the U.S. voting system "critical infrastructure" and asked him why he believed that was important.

"It was important in my mind because 'critical infrastructure' receives a priority in terms of the assistance we give on cybersecurity. That's number one," Johnson said.

“There’s a certain level of confidence, confidentiality that goes into the communications between critical infrastructure and the department that are guaranteed,” he said, adding that “when you’re part of critical infrastructure, you get the support of the international cyber norms: thou shalt not attack critical infrastructure in another country.”

“And so, those were the principal reasons to do this. There are 16 sectors already that are considered critical infrastructure, and in my view, this is something that was sort of a no-brainer and in fact, probably should have been done years before, and I’m pleased Secretary Kelly has reaffirmed it,” Johnson said.

“Does that include the parties and the infrastructure around candidates or is that just the mechanics of voting itself?” Conaway asked.

“If you read the way I wrote the statement on January 6, it’s pretty much confined to the election process itself, election infrastructure itself, not the politicians, not the political parties,” Johnson said.

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