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A Florida Congresswoman is wondering why she can’t talk openly about Russian election hacking

“Why have the details of this foreign attack on our democracy been shrouded in secrecy?” Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-FL-7.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Orlando. [AP Photo | John Raoux] [JOHN RAOUX | AP]

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, the Democrat who represents parts of Seminole County and Orange County, has a bone to pick with the U.S. intelligence community.

In an op-ed column for the Washington Post published earlier this week, Murphy renewed her objection to the lack of public knowledge about Russian attempts to hack into Florida’s electoral system in 2016.

Security officials, Murphy argued, have been less than forthcoming about Russia’s interference efforts. It took Murphy ― and her Republican colleague, Michael Waltz, R-6 ― requesting a private briefing for officials to disclose that two counties had been penetrated by Russians, Murphy writes. And in fact, there may have been even more counties affected. Murphy herself is not sure, she wrote.

Related story: Florida lawmakers under hacking gag order. And they’re not happy about it.

Murphy is not allowed to share key details she has learned ― the names of the counties, for example ― with the public, she said. Murphy has a problem with this arrangement.

“It’s self-defeating to be given incomplete information and then be required to remain silent about the few facts we do know,” Murphy said.

The piece contained further sharp warnings about election security in 2020:

“If we can’t form a clear picture of past election interference efforts, we won’t learn how best to fend off future attacks,” Murphy wrote.

It made the case for transparency in the area of election security:

“Why have the details of this foreign attack on our democracy been shrouded in secrecy?” Murphy wrote. “Federal law enforcement agencies view local election officials whose networks were targeted as victims entitled to confidentiality. I believe the victims are the voters.”

And it argued that elections are not a partisan issue:

“While Russia assisted a Republican in 2016, it could aid a Democrat in the future. Moscow’s loyalty is to itself, not any U.S. political party. To defend our democracy, U.S. officials must put America first,” Murphy wrote.

Read the entire op-ed here.