John Brennan’s Take on Election Security


Center on National Security Distinguished Fellow and former CIA director John Brennan was quoted in a Yahoo article about voting security for the upcoming midterm elections.

But in an interview last week, former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, a longtime security expert, refrained from retreating into fingernail-chewing anxiety. Instead, Brennan said he’s confident in the work being done to secure voting systems—even as he harbors doubts about security leadership in President Trump’s White House, and people’s ability to focus on threats beyond those we’ve already seen.

In a conversation after his keynote at a security conference in Washington last week, Brennan said that at both the federal and state levels of government, people are diligently working to stop future cyberattacks on our voting systems.

“I think there have been some steps taken to try to better understand what can be done on the technical front to prevent, to detect, to react to any types of intrusions,” he said.

But does that mean we’ve advanced to the point where we could defeat a repeat of the same attack? “I don’t know,” said Brennan, who led the CIA from 2013 to 2017, and, prior to that, served as President Obama’s homeland-security adviser.

Brennan, who had his security clearance yanked in August by Trump after the former CIA director criticized the president on Twitter, delicately raised doubts about the ability of this White House to focus on cybersecurity risks.

“I have full confidence that the intelligence community—CIA, NSA, and FBI—are going to do their level best to uncover, and then bring forward, information about efforts to intrude on the election,” he said. “And I think there are a number of very serious-minded individuals in the policy arena in Washington who will act upon that intelligence.”

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