Back in November, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp discovered that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and his merry band of fascists were out for pay back. In August, Johnson had offered Georgia and other states “assistance” in security their voting systems. Most declined. Kemp, though, has the highest profile among state officials who wanted to keep the feds out of their business. Shortly after the election, as rumors of Russian hacking were being spread by the Obama administration, the people that manage cyber security for Kemp’s office noticed someone trying to hack their system. Not one. Not twice. But at least ten different times. They traced the IP address and found it belonged to… surprise… DHS.
Johnson has given several explanations for the attempted intrusion. One was that an unnamed contracted who hit the site “as part of his normal job duties” to confirm professional licenses.
The former secretary hedged his response in a Dec. 12 letter, telling Kemp, “This is an interim response to your inquiry, subject to change.”
Kemp said the DHS answers have continued to change over time, and the department has been unwilling to identify the contractor.
“First they said it was an individual in Corpus Christi Texas who worked for border patrol that had a bug in his Microsoft software that was causing it. And then they moved off of that, and said that it was somebody in Georgia at FLETCO down in Gleynn County on the coast of Georgia.”
Now things have gotten more serious. The DHS IG has informed Kemp that he’s investigating the hack attempts.
John Roth, inspector general for DHS, wants to know why the agency broke protocol on its way to 10 unprecedented attacks on the system overseen by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp — who is also one of the most vocal critics about the Obama administration’s attempt to designate local and state election machinery as part of federal “critical infrastructure.”
A Jan. 17 letter from Roth notified Kemp his office was officially “investigating a series of ten alleged scanning events of the Georgia Secretary of State’s network that may have originated from DHS-affiliated IP addresses.” A firewall in Georgia’s system thwarted each attempt.
Title 18 of the federal code makes it a federal crime to “having knowingly accessed a computer without authorization” and to damage or impair the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information. The penalty could be a fine and up to 20 years for each offense.
Georgia also has several computer fraud and abuse statutes that could apply to the DHS contract employee and to other officials in Georgia who are implicated in the effort. Four of the 10 attacks against the Georgia network occurred as Kemp was about to talk to DHS officials, or coincided with his public testimony about his opposition to the critical infrastructure designation.
“It’s certainly concerning about the dates,” Kemp told TheDCNF in an interview. Kemp said he hopes the Inspector General gets to the bottom of the attacks and determines if there is a possibility the hacks were timed to intimidate him.
I hope we see more of this. Under Obama many federal agencies became accustomed to operating outside the law with total impunity. An IG investigation and disciplinary action or criminal charges will go a long way towards correcting the balance of power.