Former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former CIA official Michael Morell on Wednesday said Russia would have required assistance in order to micro-target U.S. voter districts, Bloomberg News reports.
“It is not intuitively obvious that they could have done this themselves,” Hayden said.
“They do not have the analytic capability to do that themselves,” Morell agreed.
Their assessments come one day after CNN reported Russia operatives used ads that specifically targeted voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, two states that were instrumental to Donald Trump’s win in 2016.
The ads were emblematic of Russia’s highly sophisticated micro-targeting operation that allowed hackers to zero in on pivotal demographics in the United States.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who are leading one of several investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, largely endorsed the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to sway the outcome.
“There needs to be a more aggressive whole-of-government approach in terms of protecting our electoral system,” Warner said during a press conference Wednesday. “Remember, to make a change even in a national election doesn’t require penetration into 50 states.”
“You could pick two or three states in two or three jurisdictions and alter an election,” Warner explained.