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Russia could plant ‘cyber bomb’ in upcoming US elections: Rep. Conaway

Rep. Mike Conaway, during U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 93rd Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), in Arlington, VA, on Feb. 23, 2017. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)
March 19, 2018

Russia might be considering new ways to hack into U.S. elections, and could even have its eyes set on manipulating the 2020 Presidential election, according Republican Rep. Mike Conaway from Texas.

Conaway is leading the House Intelligence Committee in the Russia investigation into election interference, and he recently told Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan at Axios that Russian President Vladimir Putin might “‘test some things’ in the 2018 midterm elections that he ‘would want to fully develop and blow out in a bigger way… in the Presidential [election] in 2020.'”

After learning last week that Russia has been actively trying to attack the U.S. power grid, coupled with the recent drama of Russia’s alleged use of a nerve agent gas to try and kill an ex-Russian spy in London, Conaway said not to “put anything past this guy,” referring to Putin.

Conaway detailed to Axios one of the possible Russian hacking scenarios that he fears would take place:

“As an example, if they got into the voter registration data and planted a cyber bomb to go off at 7 a.m. on Election Day, they’d scramble that information. So when the people went to the polls to vote, it’s like, ‘Whoop. No, you’re not registered. We don’t have your name.’ Well, think of the chaos that would create at a point where it would be really difficult to reset it, to not having it.”

The House Intelligence Committee recently determined there was no collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump before he was sworn in as President.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said in a summary statement last Monday.

This follows a year-long investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump has said repeatedly that there was never any “collusion” with Russia, and that the investigation into such has been a “witch hunt.”

The U.S. just last week also issued new sanctions against Russia for its election meddling and ongoing cyber attacks.

The new sanctions against Russia are for the country’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election and for engaging in cyber attacks.

Five entities and 19 individuals – including the 13 indicted by Mueller as part of his Russia investigation – were sanctioned.

And perhaps the most jarring news in recent weeks was that Russia has been deliberately trying to infiltrate and attack the U.S. energy grid for some time.

It is not known how long Russia has been engaging in the ongoing, malicious cyber attacks.