A large congressional intelligence report which was once top secret has now been declassified and why Secretary of State Brian Kemp is listed in the report had CBS46 looking for answers and asking tough questions.
It's a report with names like Julian Assange and Steve Bannon. But Georgia's Brian Kemp? His name is listed right above Jared Kushner, in the alphabetical listing.
So, why is Georgia's secretary of state and Republican candidate for governor in this 253 page congressional house report on Russian influence and cyber activity against the U.S? CBS46 wanted to know and researched it for you. We found the answer.
It's part of finding that communication between the Department of Homeland Security and state election officials broke down because of state officials' mistrust of the Obama administration. The clearest example DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson gave was Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Kemp's December 2016 letter. In it, Kemp accuses the DHS of attempting to "breach our firewall".
CBS46 asked Kemp about refusing to cooperate with the DHS under the previous administration and refusing to allow the feds to label state election systems "critical infrastructure". Kemp said the DHS secretary, "did almost nothing to explain what this new designation would mean and how far the feds would take it, once implemented." CBS46 decided to ask the person who manages elections in Fulton County, Richard Barron, about it.
"I see no benefit from it because the states are in charge of elections," said Barron. "I think a lot of times there are strings attached. There are these unintended consequences."
Kemp says, "Georgia led the country in safeguarding our elections systems and has used "private sector companies".
But what about the other part of the finding #12 in the congressional report that there was an "unprecedented level of Russian cyber intrusions"?
"I don't think people should mix up Russian propaganda in social media with trying to get involved with election systems," continued Barron.
CBS46 also asked Georgia Tech professor Adam Stulberg, who specializes in U.S/Russia relations. He said, it's important to distinguish between Russian acts of smearing and propaganda versus actual attacks on the election system -- which he's seen no evidence of.
Professor Stulberg also says, while he "can't comment on the effects of Kemp's decisions, it's likely, the feds are in a better position to know about the vulnerabilities of the infrastructure to Russian attack".
CBS46 will keep you posted.
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