MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida state Senator Annette Taddeo, in an exclusive interview with CBS 60 Minutes, revealed that not only did Russian hackers try to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, they also impacted certain congressional races.
“It’s not different than Watergate. It’s not different than when, you know, Republicans came into the DNC and stole documents from the file cabinets,” said Kelly Ward.
Ward was executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, when their computers were hacked by Russian agents trying to interfere in the 2016 elections.
“They started to release specific documents related to our specific races, or documents that were, you know, in our most-targeted states and our most-targeted areas,” said Ward.
One of the most-targeted areas was the 26th District of Florida which stretches from South Miami to the Florida Keys. Annette Tadeo was running and had the full support of the DCCC but two weeks before the primary, she said that everything was turned upside down.
“I was on my way to a TV debate, live TV debate, and I get the call about the fact that not only were we hacked, but our information is now public, from our polling to our mail plan. In addition to that, the entire “Path to Victory,” she said.
The Path to Victory was Taddeo’s game plan and she said her opponent at the time, Joe Garcia, showed up at the debate with a printout of all the documents. Taddeo described South Florida’s political climate as rough and tumble, but this took it to another level.
“We’ve seen a lot here but this was, this was a foreign government. This was so much bigger. You know, I’ve been told by a lot of people, ‘you should stop talking about this. It’s really not good for you politically to remind people that you lost.’ But I refuse to stop talking about it because, again, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone and it didn’t happen to me, it happened to our democracy,” she said.
Taddeo lost that primary to Garcia who lost to the Republican candidate. The then ran for state senator for District 40 and won.
The Justice Department’s national security division is now overseeing at least two open cases against the Russians for interfering in our presidential and congressional races.