WASHINGTON -- A new letter from the heads of the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security say Russia is not, at the moment, attacking Florida's election infrastructure.
- Letter says no "new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure"
- Sen. Nelson said Russians were already penetrating Florida's election systems
- Election officials say Nelson would not give details
- Nelson Spokesman: Letter does not contradict Nelson
- RELATED: Read the letter from the FBI, Homeland Security (.pdf)
The letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzer comes after weeks of debate following comments from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, that Russia had "already penetrated" the state's voting systems.
"Although we have not seen new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure in Florida, Russian government actors have previously demonstrated both the intent and capability to conduct malicious cyber operations," wrote FBI director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Earlier this month, Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times that Russian operatives "have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about."
However, Nelson on subsequent requests for clarification, would not identify the counties that had been penetrated, or give details on what Russian operatives have done in Florida, saying the information was classified.
The state said Nelson did not answer any requests for more information.
Nelson based his remarks on a July 2 letter he and fellow Florida senator, Marco Rubio, wrote to the election officials in Florida's 67 counties.
The letter said that Russians were preparing to undermine confidence in the voting process. It also said there were a small number of cases where "cyber actors affiliated with the Russian government accessed voter registration databases."
The letter urged county election boards to utilize federal resources to strengthen their election equipment.
That letter cautioned about potential security threats, but did not give details.
A spokesman for Sen. Nelson said there was nothing in the letter released Tuesday that contradicts what Nelson was told as part of his July letter.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing in this letter that contradicts what Sen. Nelson said he was told a few months ago, and what he and Sen. Rubio have tried to warn about in order to guard against Russian meddling in our elections. The governor of Florida has a security clearance and could have quickly and directly received information, answers and posed any questions instead of engaging in these confusing and partisan histrionics of the past week.”
This is a developing story. Check back for the latest.