Four secretaries of state are joining an effort to help campaigns prevent election cyberattacks.
Republicans Mac Warner of West Virginia and Tom Schedler of Louisana, and Democrats Denise Merrill of Connecticut and Nellie Gorbea of Rhode Island are working with the campaign managers of Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney to create a nonpartisan playbook to help campaigns, according to a Wednesday report in Politico.
Robby Mook of the Clinton campaign and Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager, have been working with a number of campaigns, but will not name them for security reasons.
“Not everyone wants to talk about it, because if you’re talking about it, you’re not talking about your campaign, your candidate, and you’re also putting a target on your back, I totally get that,” Rhoades said in the Politico report.
“A lot of the meetings we have, discussions we have, are completely off the record for those reasons,” Rhoades added.
The goal is to help campaigns be prepared, Mook said. “It’s less about ‘In 2018, elections will be completely secure.’ It’s more about, ‘We know that a lot of campaigns can be in a much better place so we’re doing everything we can to help them get there,” Mook said.
One way to take on cyberattacks is through information sharing, Mook said, borrowing from a practice that the retail industry uses. “A lot of companies, take the retail sector for example, they have set up systems to share information and warn each other when there’s trouble out there. But outside of security, they’re really tough competitors and they don’t like each other and they’re trying to get ahead of each other,” Mook said.
Getting the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee to work together is not an easy task, Rhoades admitted. “Our goal isn’t to make the DNC and RNC love each other,” he said in the Politico report.
Mook and Rhoades appeared on a panel discussion on digital threats to democracy at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on Monday night. “In the polarized world that we live in, no one would believe the results (of a hacked election), and it would create absolute chaos. That’s what these hackers and outside foreign entities are trying to do the most, they’re trying to create chaos,” Rhoades said, according to The Harvard Crimson.