Bush DHS Head: Trump voter data request poses national security threat

The Secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush on Thursday contended that the Trump administration’s request for voter data from the states could pose a threat to national security, citing recent attempts by hackers to steal such data.

Michael Chertoff wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he argued that President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity should “live up” to Trump’s executive order signed earlier this year to strengthen cybersecurity in the federal government.

“But whatever the political, legal and constitutional issues raised by this data request, one issue has barely been part of the public discussion: national security,” Chertoff wrote.

“If this sensitive data is to be collected and aggregated by the federal government, then the administration should honor its own recent cybersecurity executive order and ensure that the data is not stolen by hackers or insiders.”

The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity recently requested voter roll data—including birthdates, full addresses, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers—from all 50 states.

“We know that a database of personal information from all voting Americans would be attractive not only to adversaries seeking to affect voting, but to criminals who could use the identifying information as a wedge into identity theft,” Chertoff said.

“We also know that foreign intelligence agencies seek large databases on Americans for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.”

As of Wednesday, 44 states had announced that they would not supply the election commission with all of the requested data.

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