The Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security is contemplating a special declaration that will allow it to control America’s elections, according to a new report.
The federal agency would declare the election a “critical infrastructure” in such a case, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday, noting the move would give DHS “the same control over security it has over Wall Street and and the electric power grid.”
The news comes just two days after the FBI revealed foreign hackers broke into state election systems in Illinois and Arizona.
According to the Examiner, those attacks increase the likelihood of DHS making the special declaration in time for the upcoming election.
“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he said at media conference in August hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
DHS currently has a security role in 16 facets of critical infrastructure. Other sectors may reveal what DHS and Johnson would have planned for election oversight.
“There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” DHS state on its website.
A White House policy directive noted, “The federal government also has a responsibility to strengthen the security and resilience of its own critical infrastructure, for the continuity of national essential functions, and to organize itself to partner effectively with and add value to the security and resilience efforts of critical infrastructure owners and operators.”
According to the Examiner, Johnson also warned that there isn’t one central election system, because the states run elections.
“There’s no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process,” Johnson said.