MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County’s Supervisor of Elections is weighing in on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report saying Russian intelligence gained access to “at least one” Florida county’s election computer network during the 2016 campaign.
“Miami-Dade County has no indications of possible or actual elections systems compromise from internal monitoring or external parties,” said Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Christina White in a statement emailed to CBS4 News on Friday afternoon.
The report does not specify which county was hacked.
The redacted report released on Thursday says the GRU, or Russian military intelligence agency, targeted Florida officials with spear phishing emails.
The report said Mueller’s office didn’t independently verify the belief.
In a statement, the Florida Department of State, which supervises Florida elections, said federal officials notified them in 2017 that Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers in 2016.
“The Department maintains that the 2016 elections in Florida were not hacked,” the statement said. “The Florida Voter Registration System was and remains secure, and official results or vote tallies were not changed.”
Then-U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said last August that Russians had penetrated the systems of certain Florida counties and had “free rein to move about” ahead of last year’s midterm election.
After Nelson made his allegations, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint letter saying that they saw no signs of any “new or ongoing compromises” of state or local election systems.
Then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who successfully ran against Nelson for his Senate seat last fall, seized on the letter to criticize Nelson, saying that the 76-year-old senator “has either been deeply confused or very dishonest — and an alarming possibility exists that he is both on this issue.”
On Thursday, the president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections said he thought it was telling that Mueller’s report referred only to a “Florida county government” and didn’t specify an elections office.
“To me that’s not indicative of breach of a county elections,” said Paul Lux, supervisor of elections for Okaloosa County. “At the end of the day, most of what I’ve seen in Mueller report, as it relates in election results, is three-year old information that has already been reported.”
The Florida Department of State said it “has no knowledge or evidence of any successful hacking attempt at the county level during the 2016 elections. Upon learning of the new information released in the Mueller report, the Department immediately reached out to the FBI to inquire which county may have been accessed, and they declined to share this information with us,” spokesperson Sarah Revell said in an email to CBSMiami.com on Thursday.
“The Department maintains that the 2016 elections in Florida were not hacked. The Florida Voter Registration System was and remains secure, and official results or vote tallies were not changed. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the Department that Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers in 2016. Since 2016 when elections were designated as critical infrastructure, state and local election officials in Florida have invested millions of dollars in election security. These investments, coupled with our strong partnerships with federal and state agencies, has made Florida one of the leading states in the country on election cybersecurity. In 2018, former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a letter to the Florida Secretary of State that ‘…we have not seen new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure in Florida.’ The Department of State and local election officials will continue our efforts to ensure Florida’s elections in 2020 and beyond are secure.”