The Daily Caller was reporting Thursday morning that the federal government is investigating why Department of Homeland Security agents were hacking one state's election system.
In the report by The DC's Richard Pollock, agents broke into the Georgia state governmental network, including its election system. In a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, DHS Inspector General John Roth indicated he is investigating 10 alleged "scanning events."
"The U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has forwarded us your prior correspondence with Secretary [Jeh] Johnson and President-elect Trump on this issue and has asked us to investigate the allegations raised in your letters," the Jan. 17-dated letter states. The letter requests the web logs and network logs of the Georgia Secretary of State Office's system for 10 specific dates to aid in furthering Roth's investigation.
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Kemp have clashed over a federal government designation of election systems as "critical infrastructure." Kemp called it "political power play to federalize elections."
Johnson sparked a firestorm among state-level secretaries of state—Democrat and Republican alike—when he announced Jan. 6, two weeks before leaving office, that he was unilaterally issuing the designation.
If Roth's investigation shows Johnson or his subordinates deliberately used federal cybersecurity resources to penetrate a state election system in order to pressure a state official over a policy dispute, it could represent a significant scandal for Johnson and for the outgoing Obama administration.
The "scans" are attacks to test security weaknesses in a network. It's called the electronic equivalent of "rattling doorknobs" to see if they're unlocked — or on a darker side, to send a message to a recipient.
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