WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The heads of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and Director of National Intelligence met behind closed doors with members of Congress on Tuesday to discuss the threat of foreign meddling in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The federal government is already working with officials in the states to help them secure their election processes following Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“We need to be prepared, we were caught off guard last time,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
U.S. officials are concerned foreign adversaries will try to interfere in the November mid-term elections after Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirsjten Nielsen and the directors of the FBI and National Intelligence delivered a classified briefing to members of Congress, explaining how they’re assisting state and local governments with the approaching midterm election.
“There is nothing more important than the integrity of our democracy,” said Nielsen.
State and local governments are responsible for securing the vote.
“We need more information about what has to be done to address vulnerabilities at the state level. I didn’t walk away thinking that we’re there yet,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL.
Neilsen warned the Russians, and others, will try to create chaos but won’t likely focus on manipulating the outcome of specific races.
She stopped short of saying Russia tried to sway the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.
“I do not believe I’ve seen that conclusion that the specific intent was to help President Trump win. I’m not aware of that,” she said.
Nielsen added she has no reason to doubt intelligence assessments, but her answer drew scrutiny because the intelligence community assessment from January 2017 said: “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect Trump.”
Voters go to the polls November 6th to determine control of Congress. All of the seats in the House of Representatives are up for election along with one-third of the Senate.