A few weeks ago, NBC News issued a story about election hacking which it presented as an exclusive. It drew pushback from DHS, and from many in the elections community, saying that the information was not new, and some of it was incorrect.
Yesterday NBC followed up with another story, this one giving much more specific details:
The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.
This one prompted an even stronger reaction from DHS, as the start of this thread shows:
.@NBCNews reporting tonight on the 2016 elections is not accurate and is actively undermining efforts of @DHSgov to work in close partnership with state and local governments to protect the nation’s election systems from foreign actors. https://t.co/JfDtnDLKdh
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) February 28, 2018
And noted election expert David Becker wrote:
Another bizarre story from @NBCNews. A mixture of old info, wrong info, and out-of-context info. Facts are clear – only one state system (IL) had any data accessed, and no voter data was changed or deleted, and no votes altered. We’ve known all this since at least June. https://t.co/UFBYLnXZWk
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) February 28, 2018
It is hard to know what is going on here. My experience is that NBC News is one of the best in the business, and they take very seriously the need to get things right. But the reactions to this line of investigation is extraordinary, not just from DHS, but from other election officials and election observers.