“‘It’s absolutely getting worse’: Secretaries of state targeted by Trump election lies live in fear for their safety and are desperate for protection”

This is an extensive CNN story, a must read:

“I am a hunter — and I think you should be hunted,” a woman can be heard saying in a voicemail left for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in September. “You will never be safe in Arizona again.”

Or there’s the man who spit, “Die you bitch, die! Die you bitch, die!” repeatedly into the phone, in another of several dozen threatening and angry voicemails directed at the Democratic secretary of state and shared exclusively with CNN by her office.

Officials and aides in secretary of state offices in Arizona and other states targeted by former President Donald Trump in his attack on last year’s election results told CNN about living in constant terror — nervously watching the people around them at events, checking in their rearview mirrors for cars following them home and sitting up at night wondering what might happen next.

Law enforcement has never had to think much about protecting secretaries of state, let alone allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars in security, tracking and follow-up. Their jobs used to be mundane, unexciting, bureaucratic. These are small offices in a handful of states with enormous power in administering elections, from mailing ballots to overseeing voting machines to keeping track of counted votes….

The threats come in from their home states and across the country. Few appear to be coordinated or organized, and are instead often driven by momentary, angry reactions to a news story or social media post. But some get very specific, citing details and specifics that leave the secretaries and their staff rushing to report them to authorities.

Most anticipate the threats will increase going into next year, with Republicans around the country making election doubt conspiracies a central plank of their campaigns, and with many of these secretaries of state up for reelection themselves in races that are already generating more attention than ever before, with expectations that they will be the frontlines of potentially trying to overturn the next presidential election.

But Griswold’s problem was, ironically, summed up in one of the tweets her office has tracked: “Your security detail is far too thin and incompetent to protect you. This world is unpredictable these days… anything can happen to anyone.” It ended with a shrug emoji. Griswold’s vulnerability is greater than that person imagined: for now, she’s had to contract private security, and only for official events, squeezing the money out of her small office budget. With all that’s been coming at her, that’s what she has…

Several other officials declined requests to speak about their experiences, telling CNN through representatives either that they have been advised by security teams not to risk calling more attention to their vulnerabilities or because they were too shaken by the experiences to discuss what they’ve been through publicly. Many have had to rely on makeshift threat monitoring on their own. In Colorado and California, for example, the secretary of state offices had already been following chatter about attacks on election infrastructure on the dark web. Now that has been expanded to include following chatter about security threats to the officials themselves. But without funding to do this, employees without security training are doing it on a part-time basis, hoping to catch what they can and properly assess when they do.

Share this: