Janet Napolitano on Securing the 2020 Elections

As Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, it was Janet Napolitano’s responsibility to keep America’s elections safe. She discusses whether America’s 2020 elections will be any more secure.

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JANET NAPOLITANO, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, you know, I think it’s very clear both from Mueller and from the intelligence agencies of the United States and their combined efforts that Russia was all over our 2016 presidential election. They were hacking the Clinton campaign and releasing e-mails from the Clinton campaign, they were putting false and misleading stories on the social media, all in an effort to help, now, President Trump. Whether there was an active conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians in order to do that, Mueller has concluded, no, that there was not. But I also think Mueller is very clear and the Barr letter that transmits his opinion of the Mueller report very clear that the Russians were actively interfering. And I think the real question is what is the United States doing to prepare for the 2020 election and it prevents such interference from happening again.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, that was going to be my next question. Do you have any inside knowledge or outside knowledge of what is being done in a technical and, you know, very important way to protect the integrity of the next elections?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I think several things need to be being done. One is, elections in the United States are controlled by local authorities, county recorder’s, state secretaries of state, by way of example. I think the Federal government through the Department of Homeland Security ought to be convening all of those leaders into one place and agreeing upon a national set of standards that will govern the actual machinery of elections so that we have confidence that the integrity of the election is not affected. And then secondly, I think that we need much greater cooperation with — particularly the large social media platforms, the Facebook’s, the Twitters of the world, to unmask some of the — those who are putting false advertisements, false stories, et cetera, on social media.

AMANPOUR: This all, I suppose, is part of the whole sort of rubric of cyber terrorism, cyber security or insecurity. And you, in your book, have talked about, you know, basically what the government is not doing right now in terms of cyber security comparing it to what happened in the response to terrorism before 9/11. You’re writing, once again, and no one is connecting the dots. Again, I know you’ve sort of answered part of this, but are there any dots that are being connected in the aftermath in this issue of the cyber-attack on the elections?

About This Episode EXPAND

Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev shares Moscow’s reaction to the Mueller investigation’s findings. Janet Napolitano on whether America’s 2020 elections will be secure. And Jonathan Weisman, author of “(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age of Trump,” on the the partisan rift over US-Israel ties. Republican strategist Frank Luntz joins Walter Isaacson to discuss America’s toxic politics.