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DHS Says Wisconsin Was Targeted By Russian Hackers

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The Department of Homeland Security has stated that Wisconsin's election system was targeted by Russian hackers in the lead-up to the 2016 vote. The hackers reportedly scanned the State Election Commission's online election infrastructure to try and identify weak points.

"This scanning had no impact on Wisconsin's systems or the election," stated Michael Haas, Wisconsin's top election official, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Internet security provided by the state successfully protected our systems. Homeland Security specifically confirmed there was no breach or compromise of our data."

In June, DHS officials revealed at a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that 21 states had been targeted, but officials from Wisconsin said that they were not informed at the time that their state was among them.

Wisconsin's State Election Commission is requesting more information on the alleged hacking attempt, including the specific dates on which the scanning took place.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Sept. 22 that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election were a "hoax," adding that the media had the "greatest influence" on the vote.

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Trump's tweet came in response to an announcement by Facebook that it would turn over data on 3,000 ads allegedly tied to Russian hackers to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently leading an investigation into Russia's effect on the 2016 election.

"What about the totally biased and dishonest media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?" Trump added, according to CNN.

The president has been making this point for several months.

"Trump russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!" he wrote on Twitter March 28.

On May 8, Trump reiterated the point, tweeting: "The russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?"

At a rally in Phoenix, he attacked Democrats for their "obsession with the Russian hoax."

"That's a total witch hunt, the whole Russia story," Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in July, according to CNN. "It's a hoax. It's a hoax. We had no collusion with Russia. We never dealt with Russia."

David Sanger of The New York Times took a different view, arguing that Russian interference is a fact.

"He has a very difficult time separating out the fact of the Russians affecting the election and the outcome," Sanger told CNN.

In May testimony before Congress, FBI Director James Comey also treated Russian interference as a given: "I think one of the lessons that the Russians may have drawn from this is that this works. And so as I said a month or so ago, I expect to see them back again in 2018, and especially in 2020."

Sources: Minneapolis Star Tribune, CNN(2) / Featured Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Federal Bureau of Investigation/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Michel Temer/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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