November 08, 2017

Senator Hassan Presses DHS Secretary Nominee on Importance of Strengthening Election Cyber Security


Click here for video of the hearing.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan participated today in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing for Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.

As part of her efforts to keep New Hampshire and the United States safe, secure, and free, Senator Hassan pressed Ms. Nielsen on the importance of strengthening election cyber security in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“My concern is whether in fact election security is really a priority for this president,” Senator Hassan said, to which Ms. Nielsen responded, “It must be.” While Ms. Nielsen was unable to confirm if she felt comfortable that states will be able to resist future Russian hacking efforts, she agreed with Senator Hassan on the importance of ensuring that states have the support they need so that when people go to polls they can be confident that election systems are secure.

Senator Hassan also pressed Ms. Nielsen on what specific steps she would take if confirmed to address the threat from ISIS fighters who may seek to carry out individual terrorist attacks after their so-called caliphate has fallen. Ms. Nielsen said she would focus on “awareness, outreach ensuring that our intel is requirements-based, moving towards a different model, making sure that we use a JTF, a Joint Task Force-like mentality within the Department to make sure that we’re leveraging all the different parts.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded previously awarded grants made to several organizations that work to counter violent white supremacist groups and their ideology. Senator Hassan also pushed Ms. Nielsen on how rescinding these grants harmonizes with the nominee’s stated desire to combat terrorists’ recruitment efforts of Americans.