Tags: Trump Administration | Homeland Security | Religion | jeh johnson | security | election | muslim americans

Jeh Johnson Promises 'No Stone Unturned' to Keep Election Safe

(MSNBC)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Sep 2016 02:17 PM

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promised Tuesday his department will "leave no stone unturned" to ensure the integrity of the nation's election process, but cyber attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"We have a lot of confidence in the integrity of the election process itself," Johnson told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "There are some 9,000 state and local jurisdictions that are involved in the election process, including national elections."

However, the nation is a "general environment here there's an increasing level of sophistication by cyber attackers," Johnson said. "Across the spectrum, whether it's attacks from nation-state actors, plain criminals hacktivists, and so on, we want to inform state election officials of what we see on a national level as best practices, and we're doing that right now."

Mitchell pointed out that Russia and China both have been implicated in hacking into computer systems for the White House, the State Department and other government entities, but Johnson said the election is different, as it is "not tied to the Internet grid," even if it is in many cases operated electronically.

"The DHS is installing across lots of federal agencies the ability to not just monitor and direct cyber intrusions, but to block them as well," Johnson said. "We're in a much better place than we were as recently as a year ago, pursuant to a pretty aggressive timetable."

Johnson over the weekend was the first cabinet secretary to speak to the largest convention of Muslim Americans, gathered this weekend just outside of Chicago.

"I think it's critical in this current environment, where the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations are trying to target American Muslim communities for recruitment," Johnson said.

"We [want to] build bridges to American Muslim communities, which I've made a priority since I've been secretary of Homeland Security."

Johnson said has been in multiple cities talking to American Muslim communities, a word he uses in plural on purpose because "they are a very diverse group."

"I received this invitation to come speak to this convention of literally thousands of American Muslims in one place and I thought it was imperative to accept," Johnson said. "I do see parallels in history, I'm a student of history, and I look at the struggle of honest, hard working Muslim Americans who are patriotic people to win full acceptance in this society and I see prior examples of the same thing, whether it's African Americans, whether it's Catholic Americans, Jewish Americans, I see parallels of the same thing."

Johnson said he wanted to let those at the gathering to know that if they know the American story, "you know that ultimately you will win full acceptance and become a part of the fabric of our community."

The secretary also discussed the ongoing calls from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters for deportation, telling Mitchell that it is already a priority to remove convicted criminals from the country.

"We have prioritized the removal of people who are threats to public safety," said Johnson. "We stress that and focused on it even more with the president's enforcement priorities, which I announced in November 2014."

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promised Tuesday his department will "leave no stone unturned" to ensure the integrity of the nation's election process, but cyber attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
jeh johnson, security, election, muslim americans
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2016-17-06
Tuesday, 06 Sep 2016 02:17 PM
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