Florida Governor Says Russian Hackers Accessed Voter Databases
By RFE/RL May 15, 2019
The governor of Florida has said Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two of the southern state's counties ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Ron DeSantis said on May 14 that the hackers didn't manipulate any data and the election results weren't compromised.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election said hackers had gained access to the network of at least one Florida county.
"I recently met with the FBI concerning the election issue mention in the Mueller report," DeSantis said at a press conference in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida.
He said the hackers gained access through a "spearfishing" e-mail after a worker clicked a link.
DeSantis expressed frustration that the Mueller report made only vague reference to hacking.
"Hey, this shows up in the Mueller report, no one ever said anything to me," DeSantis said. "Granted, I took office in 2019 and this happened in 2016, so I get why the FBI wouldn't have rushed to tell me about something several years ago."
Last year, former Florida Senator Bill Nelson warned that Russia had "penetrated" Florida's voter-registration systems, but election officials denied that vehemently at the time.
Then-Governor Rick Scott, who defeated Nelson in the Senate race, criticized Nelson's claims and said they "only serve to erode public trust in our elections at a critical time."
Mueller's final report concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election "in sweeping and systematic fashion," using an extensive social-media campaign and hacking into Democratic Party servers.
However, there was not sufficient evidence to prove Trump and his team committed a crime by colluding with Russia officials to tip the outcome of the vote, according to the report.
The Kremlin has denied interfering in the election.
With reporting by AP and dpa
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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