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Small Florida county that backed Trump one of two targeted by Russians: reports

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A small county in Florida's panhandle that voted overwhelmingly to support President Trump in the 2016 presidential election is one of two that were penetrated by Russian hackers in that election, according to reports.

Russia's spy agency, known as the GRU, got into Washington County's voter registration database, two officials told The Washington Post. Trump won the 25,000-person county in 2016, garnering 77.4 percent of the vote, according to Politico.

County Elections Supervisor Carol F. Rudd, declined the Post's request for comment on the reported breach but told the newspaper that federal, state and local authorities need to be able to communicate with confidentiality.

“If each agency gets suspicious of the other’s ability to follow the rules of confidentiality, then those tenuous lines of communication quickly break down,” she said in an email. “That would set our security capabilities back years and severely compromise our ability to protect our elections. THAT would be a big win for the Russians going into 2020."

Ken Detzner, who was Florida's secretary of state during the election, told the Post that he was “prohibited by law from commenting.”

“The citizens deserve and have a right to know important things with regard to their election security," he added. "Over time, it’ll come out.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday that Russian hackers got into voter data in two of the state's counties during that election after being briefed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. He declined to say which counties were breached, saying he "signed a disclosure agreement.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, wrote in his report that the GRU gained "access to the network of at least one Florida county government."

https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/444234-small-florida-county-that-backed-trump-one-of-two-targeted-by-russians