WASHINGTON — Florida’s Democratic senator says Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state’s election systems ahead of this year’s midterms, but state officials say they have no information on such hacking.

Nelson tells the Tampa Bay Times, “They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about.”

Nelson, who is running for re-election, is declining to identify which counties have been penetrated, saying it was classified.

He says, “The threat is real and elections officials — at all levels — need to address the vulnerabilities.”

The Florida Department of State says it has received “zero information” from Nelson or his staff that supports the claims of Russian meddling — something national intelligence and homeland security officials have repeatedly warned is likely.

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“… the department has received no information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that corroborates Sen. Nelson’s statement and we have no evidence to support these claims.If Sen. Nelson has specific information about threats to our elections, he should share it with election officials in Florida.” – Florida Department of State

“While we are aware of Senator Nelson’s recent statements, we have not seen any new compromises by Russian actors of election infrastructure. That said, we don’t need to wait for a specific threat to be ready.” – Sara Sendek, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security

© 2018 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


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