Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas suggested Wednesday that the Russians were behind the vote-reporting app crashing during Monday’s Iowa Democratic caucuses.
At an FBI oversight hearing in the House Judiciary Committee with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jackson Lee said she hoped Iowa Democrats would press the FBI to study the Russia’s involvement in the Iowa caucuses, where full results were yet to be released four days later.
“I hope that the Iowa Democrats will ask for an FBI investigation on the app,” Jackson Lee told Wray. “I believe that Russia has been engaged in and interfering with a number of our elections dealing with the 2016 election.”
Jackson Lee’s assertion comes as Iowa Democrats face scrutiny for using an app with major flaws to report caucus results to the state party to determine the winner.
“Certainly, we are also concerned about potential Russian interference with our elections,” Wray responded. “That’s why I created the foreign influence task force, which is acutely focused on that topic among other nation states that are attempting to influence our elections.”
According to The New York Times, the app used in Iowa had been engineered in the state just in the past two months and had not been tested statewide. The app had also not been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency and was sent to volunteers without any training.
While there is no evidence to suggest hackers corrupted the app on Monday, ProPublica found that the app lacked “key safeguards” to protect the integrity of the election and could have been compromised by a skilled hacker.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is neck-and-neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, with 97 percent of precincts reporting as of 1 p.m. last night. Sanders, however, leads in the first and second popular votes and is tied for delegates with Buttigieg.