Critical Infrastructure

DHS head Nielsen hedges on Russian election meddling

WASHINGTON ― Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she has not seen evidence that the Russians meddled in the 2016 election to help elect Trump, countering the U.S. intelligence agencies assessment on the issue.

Intelligence agencies concluded in early 2017 that President Vladimir Putin ordered “an influence campaign” aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The U.S. Capitol building shown at night in November 2017. The House on Thursday eliminated new funding for states to strengthen election security, (Leo Shane III/Staff)
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The GOP-controlled House on Thursday eliminated new funding for states to strengthen election security, drawing protests from Democrats who said Republicans are not doing enough to prevent Russian meddling.

Nielsen said: “I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempts to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular party.”


Poll worker Claudia Roberts, with the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, hand a voter his ballot at the Lafayette Park precinct on Nov. 8, 2016, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
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Thursday’s vote came a week after a federal indictment was released outlining Russian hacking during the 2016 election, including attempts targeting Florida county election offices.

And yet Nielsen still says she stands behind the intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia meddled in the election. She added that Russia’s influence operations were aimed at causing chaos on both sides.

Nielsen spoke Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

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