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Homeland Security: Voting systems should be fortified as ‘critical infrastructure’ to guard against hacks

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Wednesday that he has raised the possibility of having electronic voting machines declared a “critical infrastructure” sector in order to guard against a possible cyber-attack during the November election, the New York Times reported.

“There are various different points in the process that we have to be concerned about, so this is something that we are very focused on right at the moment,” he said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

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The department currently uses the designation to cover 16 sectors — including dams, financial services, and transportation systems, among others — deemed “so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

Johnson said President Barack Obama’s administration was considering how to institute voter protections in the 9,000 jurisdictions around the country, citing the “vital national interest” in the electoral process. The secretary said he has already contacted state and local officials to discuss “best practices” to fight off hacking attempts.

“There are various different points in the process that we have to be concerned about, so this is something that we are very focused on right at the moment,” he said.

A spokesperson for the National Association of Secretaries of State, Kay Stimson, told USA Today that it’s hard for the country’s voting system to be attacked online because each state governs its own process, while 60 percent of the states hold audits after every election.

“It’s also important to point out that our election systems are not Internet-based systems,” said Stimson. “They are closed systems.”

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Intelligence failure: Donald Trump’s personal politics comes second to national security

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Joe Maguire, a Manhattan College alum whose life and career we admire, is out as President Trump’s acting director of national intelligence for committing an unpardonable sin. He told the unvarnished truth.A president needs confidence in his appointees. Trump apparently has more trust in Maguire’s replacement, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, despite the fact that he lacks a background in intelligence.But watch that trust evaporate if and when Grenell dares deliver facts the president really doesn’t want to hear.A week ago, a Maguire aide briefed the House Intelligence Committee on a bi... (more…)

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2020 Election

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews suggests four more years of Trump might be better for Democratic Party

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As Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared headed for a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, MSNBC host Chris Matthews pondered whether President Donald Trump's re-election might be better for the Democratic establishment than the Vermont senator's multiracial, multigenerational movement taking over the party.

"I'm wondering if Democratic moderates want Bernie Sanders to be President?" said Matthews. "Maybe that's too exciting a question to raise. Do they want Bernie to take over the Democratic Party in perpetuity? Maybe they'd rather wait 4 years and put in a Democrat that they like."

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2020 Election

Trump supporters have little trust in society’s institutions — and here’s why that’s disturbing

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by Miriam Boon, University of Amsterdam; Andreu Casas Salleras, University of Amsterdam; Ericka Menchen-Trevino, American University School of Communication, and Magdalena Wojcieszak, University of California, Davis [This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.]

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