Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday said it is not clear yet whether Russia was behind the latest misinformation campaign discovered by Facebook, but said "the threat is very real" whoever it was.
Nielsen made the comments during an interview on Fox News' "The Daily Briefing With Dana Perino," adding that the social media giant should be "commended" for removing the 32 fake accounts.
"Facebook is taking this very seriously, they should be commended for what they are doing today. And the threat is very real. The Russians, or whoever in this case, we have not attributed, but Russians and other states are attempting to manipulate us," Nielsen told Perino.
Nielsen said she has no reason to believe it was not Russia, but she had "not seen the intel assessment yet."
Regardless, Nielsen said it is a two-pronged attack on the U.S.
"There are different things happening here: One is an attack against election infrastructure . . . the physical infrastructure of the system, the other is encountering for influence, and we have to do more there," Nielsen told Perino.
"Americans need to be aware that it is a real threat, happening in real time," Nielsen said.
Nielsen also addressed the threats against our power grids, saying the U.S. is trying to shore up a "model collective defense."
"The adversaries are truly crowd sourcing their attacks … we in the United States have to do the same thing," Nielsen said.
"We have to bring everything we have to bear on the government side and the private sector side. So at the electric sector and the Department of Energy, we're working very closely to understand how the electricity is generated, how it is distributed, where the vulnerabilities are.
"But yes, the Russians continue to probe and try to get access to the systems," Nielsen said.
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