Tags: Trump Administration | michael chertoff | trump | election integrity | national security

Chertoff: Trump Voter Panel Request Threatens National Security

Image: Chertoff: Trump Voter Panel Request Threatens National Security
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 06 Jul 2017 07:52 AM

A request for voter data from President Donald Trump's election integrity commission poses a possible national security risk, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in a column for The Washington Post. 

Chertoff, who led Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009 said "the Trump administration's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is asking states for voter-registration data from as far back as 2006. 

"This would include names, dates of birth, voting histories, party registrations and the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers.

"The request has engendered controversy, to put it mildly, including refusals by many states and a caustic presidential tweet," he noted. 

"But whatever the political, legal and constitutional issues raised by this data request, one issue has barely been part of the public discussion: national security.

"If this sensitive data is to be collected and aggregated by the federal government, then the administration should honor its own recent cybersecurity executive order and ensure that the data is not stolen by hackers or insiders."

Chertoff said voting information has already been a target for hackers and said news reports indicated that 39 states had election-related systems penetrated. But, he noted, while many individual databases are "vulnerable," there is some protection since many voting systems are spread out among thousands of jurisdictions.

"As data-security experts will tell you, widespread distribution of individual data elements in multiple separate repositories is one way to reduce the vulnerability of the overall database," he said.

Chertoff asked what the voting commission was planning to protect the information. He said Congress and the individual states need to be told how the data would be housed.

"We know that a database of personal information from all voting Americans would be attractive not only to adversaries seeking to affect voting, but to criminals who could use the identifying information as a wedge into identity theft," he said.

"We also know that foreign intelligence agencies seek large databases on Americans for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes."

He pointed out Trump had signed an executive order on cybersecurity in May to protect federal offices dealing with critical governmental data.

And he added: "The president's election integrity commission should live up to the president's own directive."

Meanwhile, Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence, said the information requested by the commission will be protected, Politico reported.

"The federal government takes cybersecurity very seriously," he said. "No publicly identifiable information will be released to the public and the information will be managed consistent with federal security guidelines."

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A request for voter data from President Donald Trump's election integrity commission poses a possible national security risk, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in a column for The Washington Post.
michael chertoff, trump, election integrity, national security
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2017-52-06
Thursday, 06 Jul 2017 07:52 AM
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