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Sens. Graham, Gillibrand propose 9/11-style commission on election threats

By Eric DuVall
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Sens. Graham, Gillibrand propose 9/11-style commission on election threats
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2017. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said they will introduce legislation that would create a 9/11-style commission to investigate foreign threats to tamper with U.S. elections.

Graham, of South Carolina, and Gillibrand, of New York, said the commission would look into cyberattacks that took place during the 2016 election and recommend ways to prevent them in the future.

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They said the commission would go beyond the multiple congressional investigations specifically tailored to Russia's role tampering with the 2016 election and would also focus on broader threats the Russia issue has uncovered.

"There is no credible doubt that Russia attacked our election infrastructure in 2016," Gillibrand said. "We need a public accounting of how they were able to do it so effectively, and how we can protect our country when Russia or any other nation tries to attack us again."

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Graham agreed, saying the threat could go well beyond the Russian interference U.S. intelligence officials uncovered last year.

"Hostile governments like Russia don't believe in democracy," Graham said. "They have shown an eagerness to meddle in elections in the United States and other democratic nations. We need to ensure we fully understand the threat they pose and the best practices to protect ourselves from future attacks.  But Russia is not our only worry. We could face future attacks from North Korea, Iran, China and others who oppose American foreign policy and reject the values we hold dear."

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The lawmakers said the commission would be modeled off the 9/11 Commission, which was tasked with investigating how the terrorist attacks happened, and recommended changes to national security policy to prevent another incident in the future. The 9/11 Commission had an equal number of Republicans and Democrats and its recommendations were widely viewed as credible among members of both parties.

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Graham said the issue of protecting the nation's elections and its voting apparatus should be treated in a nonpartisan fashion.

"This issue should be beyond partisan politics as it strikes at the heart of our democracy," he said. "We must take steps to ensure that we protect the integrity of our elections from hostile, outside and foreign influences."

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