The two federal agencies tasked with informing state and local officials about ongoing interference in Florida’s election systems say they have not seen any new or ongoing Russian attempts to compromise local election infrastructure.
“Although we have not seen new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure in Florida, Russian government actors have previously demonstrated both the intent and capability to conduct malicious cyber operations,” said a letter from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “DHS and the FBI will continue to notify any victim of a successful cyber intrusion into their election network in any jurisdiction nationwide.”
The letter comes two weeks after Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson first mentioned that Russians “penetrated” Florida’s election systems ahead of the 2018 election. He declined to go into further detail, arguing that the basis of his assertion was classified.
Since then, the Miami Herald and NBC News reported that government officials say there is information that shows Nelson is right, though the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information is classified.
Nelson is in the midst of a contentious and expensive reelection bid against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who oversees the Florida secretary of state’s office.
“Secretary Detzner sent a letter to DHS and the FBI and we have now received their response which continues to offer no evidence or information to corroborate Senator Nelson’s claims,” a statement from the secretary of state’s office said.
Nelson’s spokesperson said there’s nothing in the letter that proves Nelson wrong.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing in this letter that contradicts what Sen. Nelson said he was told a few months ago, and what he and Sen. Rubio have tried to warn about in order to guard against Russian meddling in our elections,” Nelson spokesperson Ryan Brown said in a statement. “The governor of Florida has a security clearance and could have quickly and directly received information, answers and posed any questions instead of engaging in these confusing and partisan histrionics of the past week.”
Read more here.