Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush, argued on Thursday in an op-ed for The Washington Post that President Trump’s request for voter data could pose a threat to national security, saying that Trump’s election integrity commission should “live up” to Trump’s executive order signed earlier this year to toughen cybersecurity in the federal government, while also noting recent attempts by hackers to steal the data.
“But whatever the political, legal and constitutional issues raised by this data request, one issue has barely been part of the public discussion: national security,” Chertoff wrote.
“If this sensitive data is to be collected and aggregated by the federal government, then the administration should honor its own recent cybersecurity executive order and ensure that the data is not stolen by hackers or insiders.”
Chertoff’s op-ed comes one week after Trump’s election integrity commission requested voter information, including political affiliation, voter history/status, birthdays, full addresses and the last four digits of Social Security numbers, from all 50 states.
“We know that a database of personal information from all voting Americans would be attractive not only to adversaries seeking to affect voting but to criminals who could use the identifying information as a wedge into identity theft,” Chertoff noted.
“We also know that foreign intelligence agencies seek large databases on Americans for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.”
As of Thursday, 45 states had said they would either decline to release any of the requested data or provide only limited information to the panel, with nineteen states and D.C. flat-out refusing to comply with the request, citing privacy and political concerns.