Feds, state disagree on attempt to hack Georgia state computers

The Department of Homeland Security has informed Georgia election officials that there was no attempt to hack into the state's election computer system, but did acknowledge an agency employee left an electronic paper trail that might make it appear something nefarious was afoot. 

Yet, Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office says it's too soon to know Georgia wasn't targeted maliciously. 

"After contacting our office late this afternoon, DHS has still not been able to confirm the origin or intent of this attack," David Dove, Kemp's chief of staff and legal counsel, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This was a reconnaissance scan that raised red flags with our vendor's counter-threat unit."

Kemp last week demanded the federal agency explain why someone using a DHS computer attempted to access Georgia's voter registration database. 

Homeland Security  has since launched an internal investigation, Kemp said in a letter to members of Georgia's congressional delegation. 

The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday that DHS had tracked the incident to a computer at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Kemp's office confirmed that Monday, adding that they are waiting for more information from Homeland Security. An employee with DHS was using licensing databases on the Secretary of State's website to verify an individual's background, a Homeland Security official told Kemp in an e-mail last week. 

Federal officials told Kemp that they believe the employee's computer was incorrectly set up so that a legitimate visit to the website inadvertently set off alarms. Kemp, however, believes further investigation is needed. 

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