State election officials from all 50 states are to receive classified briefings from intelligence officials Friday and Sunday about threats to election security.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced on Thursday that it will hold the briefings in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI “as part of an ongoing effort to ensure the integrity and security of the nation’s election infrastructure.”
The briefings coincide with annual conferences for the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors being held through the weekend in Washington, D.C.
Since the 2016 presidential election, lawmakers have been calling on the intelligence community to expedite the security clearance process for state election officials in order for them to review information about election threats. Several bills have been introduced in Congress in recent months with involvement from both parties that would set requirements around this issue.
The briefings reportedly include representatives from all 50 states, but ODNI said that this does not mean that all the relevant state officials have received security clearances. “Instead, the individuals were given a one-time limited read-in for a specific briefing,” an ODNI spokesperson told CyberScoop.
“The briefings will focus on increasing awareness of foreign adversary intent and capabilities against the states’ election infrastructure, as well as a discussion of threat mitigation efforts,” ODNI said in its statement.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded in January 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered efforts to hack and influence the 2016 presidential election. On the same day, DHS declared election technology as one of its critical infrastructure sectors. The department also notified 21 states in September that some element of their voting processes were scanned by Russian actors for vulnerabilities.