Senator Bill Nelson’s first reaction to anyone who pushes back on his accusations that Russians have infiltrated some Florida county election systems – the other side is engaged in partisan politics.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux sent a letter Thursday to Senator Nelson demanding answers from his “unsubstantiated” claim that Russians are hacking state voting systems. Detzner and Lux set a Friday deadline because early voting begins in most parts of the state on Saturday. A Nelson spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times they wouldn’t respond to the letter saying it was pushing Governor Rick Scott’s “partisan, political agenda.”
The Washington Post, a newspaper most trusted by liberals, on Friday gave Nelson’s accusation Four Pinocchios. In a damming takedown of Nelson, The Post says –
“Not a single speck of evidence backs him up, and we have serious doubts whether the classified information he cited even exists.”
It now becomes increasingly difficult for Nelson to claim political motivation after the Washington Post’s rebuke.
FLA News has learned federal officials joined state and county elections officials for a training session Wednesday in Tallahassee. Federal authorities made no mention of specific threats during that meeting.
Nelson’s firestorm started August 7 when he told reporters, “The Russians are in Florida’s election records” and that they had “penetrated” some voter-registration systems. That comment took state and local elections officials by surprise because it was the first time they had heard of a specific threat. When Nelson was pressed, he said the information was classified.
Not one federal official has confirmed Nelson’s comments including Senator Richard Burr – Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.
Gov. Scott has also questioned if Nelson’s claims are true, and if so, how he has knowledge of classified information he may not be entitled to have. Nelson doesn’t sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Nelson’s position as ranking member of a cybersecurity subcommittee deals with oversight of the Armed Services, not overall intelligence activities.
Nelson tried to backtrack this week saying his statement was the same warning contained in a July 2 letter he and Senator Marco Rubio sent to local elections officials. That letter contained no information about a direct threat to Florida.
As of now, Nelson is standing alone on this issue with no one, except paid staff and Democrat operatives, rushing to his defense.