Future Tense

Now the Head of NSA Is Concerned About Russia Hacking U.S. Elections

Adm. Michael Rogers testifies during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

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The head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, said on Tuesday that he is concerned about the possibility of Russia hacking the U.S. electoral process.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. John McCain asked Rogers if Russia could “disrupt the voting results in the upcoming election,” NBC reported. The back-and-forth went like this:

Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, spoke about the disparate structure with some states voting manually and others electronically.


But is it a concern?” McCain asked.

“Oh, yes sir,” Rogers responded.

The fear a potential Russian hack of the electoral process follows hacks of state voter-registration systems in Illinois and Arizona earlier this year. The FBI said Russians were behind the Arizona hack and could be behind the breach in Illinois.


Russia is also suspected to be behind the hack and release of the Democratic National Convention’s emails. Franklin Foer wrote about the hack in Slate:

The DNC dump may not have revealed a conspiracy that could end a candidacy, but it succeeded in casting a pall of anxiety over this election. We know that the Russians have a further stash of documents from the DNC and another set of documents purloined from the Clinton Foundation. In other words, Vladimir Putin is now treating American democracy with the same respect he accords his own. The best retaliation isn’t a military one, or to respond in kind. It’s to defeat his pet candidate and to force him to watch the inauguration of the woman he so abhors.

McCain did not raise the DNC hack in Tuesday’s hearing. Though Rogers neglected to characterize the state voter registration hacks as actions of a foreign nation state, he said the threat of cyber intrusions “continues to be an issue of great focus.”