There is “no question” said House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, that former President Donald J. Trump is responsible for the so-called “insurrection” at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
That would be a tidy ending to a period of messy national unrest but there may be more blame to go around.
A report by the Center for Internet Security last week concluded that election systems are vulnerable to the same risks exposed by the SolarWinds hack, an extensive espionage operation that was discovered a few week after the 2020 Presidential election.
The U.S. government learned on Dec. 13 that foreign hackers had infiltrated the computer networks of federal agencies, including top secret agencies like the National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Dept. of State, U.S. Dept. of Treasury, etc. As long as a year ago, hackers surreptitiously entered government email servers through vulnerabilities in a widely-used computer software program sold by the Texas-based firm SolarWinds.
The hackers gained access to info about the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. It would not be a challenge to enter state election websites.
The discovery lends support to claims contained in a video recently posted by Trump supporter Mike “the Pillow Guy” Lindell. The two-hour video, “Absolute Proof: Exposing Election Fraud and the Theft of America by Enemies Foreign and Domestic, features documents showing “foreign intrusion in our election” in more than a thousand counties throughout the U.S. (Time : 1:36:12)
More than 60% of the intrusions were from China, the video asserts, and the hackers stole tens of thousands of votes from Trump. The data includes specific details about the hacks, including date stamps, the unique ID of the hackers’ computers and the specific county election computers that were hacked.
Lindell is an entrepreneur who sells pillows. He purports to have found evidence China hacked the election. Where is the FBI?
Trump supporters on Jan. 6 expressed frustration about what they perceived to be the abject failure of American institutions to ensure elections are fair and free, including the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, the FBI, state legislators and the media.
Election Systems Vulnerable
The Associated Press states the Center for Internet Security, a nonprofit that partners with the federal government on election security issues, reported that election systems in the U.S. are vulnerable to cyber intrusions and remain a potential target for foreign hacking.
Meanwhile, the White House recently announced Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emergency technology, has been assigned to investigate the SolarWinds hack and to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In summary, it is premature to heap all of the blame for Jan. 6 on Trump.
If county election sites were hacked by China or Russia or another country, some of the blame for the riot should go to Congress and other institutions that refused to acknowledge evidence of election irregularities and continue to insist claims of election fraud are baseless.
The SolarWinds’ hack was first discovered by a California cybersecurity firm, FireEye, which revealed that its systems were breached by attackers who made off with its defensive hacking tools.