Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Ron Woden (Ore.) on Wednesday asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain the bureau’s response to a hacking effort by Russia against a U.S. firm that makes election systems software.
In their June 12 letter, the senators cite then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s partially redacted report this spring revealing Russian intelligence officers targeting the voting technology VR Systems, which along with other election technology companies had been alerted by the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign of suspicious internet addresses to look for on its website logs. The company found the suspicious information on its network and informed the FBI of this, VR Systems told the senators in May 2019 letter, they said.
“Despite the fact that VR Systems equipment malfunctioned in several North Carolina precincts in November 2016, leading to long delays at the polls, it’s unclear what steps federal agencies took to investigate the extent of Russian hacking, and whether malware was responsible for the failure of VR Systems’ electronic poll books,” Klobuchar and Wyden told Wray.
In addition to asking whether the FBI examined VR Systems’ servers after the company notified the agency about the breach, the senators want to know if the FBI examined the company’s poll books that malfunctioned in North Carolina and related systems for evidence of Russian hacking.
Klobuchar and Wyden also noted that the cyber security firm FireEye [FEYE] was contracted by VR Systems to conduct a forensic examination of its systems in the summer of 2017 and want to know if the FBI has seen the results of this analysis.
Finally, ahead of the 2020 elections, the senators asked Wray what the FBI is doing to put state and local election officials at ease to report “potential cybersecurity incidents” and how the agency will “improve the speed and completeness of the information it shares with election officials, so they have the knowledge of the threats they need to do their job?”
Wray was asked to provide the answers by July 12.