Homeland Security secretary: Russian influence continues ahead of Super Tuesday


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"Russia has an ongoing campaign of influence to sow discord or mistrust in our American democracy," Wolf told CNN Thursday while visiting a Mecklenburg County Board of Elections facility in North Carolina.

The Department of Homeland Security has said it warns state and local officials about fake information, fake news and misinformation campaigns put out of Russia this primary season.

"We're trying to give so much information not just to state and local election officials, but to the voters themselves," Wolf said. "I keep saying that the federal government is not running elections. We are trying to squeeze so much information, tools, resources into local election officials."

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DHS is setting up a "cyber situational awareness room" ahead of Tuesday, Wolf told local North Carolina officials. State and local election officials will have access to this space to share real-time information and communicate any issues.

The department's cybersecurity agency has partnered with state and electoral officials in all 50 states – more than 2,300 jurisdictions – ahead of the 2020 election in "stark contrast to 2016" when DHS was in "contact with few to none," Wolf said.

Wolf denied that other nation states are looking to influence the upcoming election, but said that "others are looking at what Russia did in 2016", and he reckons "others might as well."

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The acting secretary said the department's primary focus is to make sure that election infrastructure is not disrupted, so when people vote, they know it is "spoken correctly."

Wolf declined to comment on evidence of Russia's influence, but said: "We see them having the continuous misinformation campaign out there that we saw in 2016, then in 2018 and beyond. We will continue to plan for the worst."

"Our increased sense of security is up," he told CNN.

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During the news conference, Wolf asked voters to be aware of inaccuracies on social media and to "get their information right from the source."

When asked how they want to inform the public about a credible threat, Wolf said the department will provide intelligence to state and local electoral authorities.

"DHS, the federal government, is not running our elections. Each state is running their elections and they are going to make decisions that are best for them," Wolf said. "We want to make sure there is no gap or lack of information."

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