Russian threat to elections is not over, Nelson warns

Florida Democrat calls for stepped up vigilance.
Russian president Vladimir Putin. (The Associated Press)
Russian president Vladimir Putin. (The Associated Press)
Published Feb. 6, 2018|Updated Feb. 6, 2018

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday that the threat of Russian interference in elections is not over and faulted the Trump administration for not imposing further sanction.

"As the 2018 midterm elections are now only months away, there is no time to lose in countering Russian influence through multiple means," the Florida Democrat, running for re-election this year, wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"Because Russian influence is conducted largely through cyberspace, National Mission Teams (NMTs), part of the U.S. Cyber Command's Cyber Mission Force, should be ordered to prepare to engage Russian cyber operators and disrupt their activities as they conduct clandestine influence operations against our forthcoming elections. The mission of these forces is to defend the Nation, including critical infrastructure like our election systems, from foreign attack and we urge the Department of Defense to consider employing them as soon as possible."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has voiced similar concern — as recently as this morning on Fox News — and has offered legislation to punish Russia.