A 118-page secret document obtained by NBC News reveals Russian Federation accessed voter registration systems in seven states, including Florida, just days before the 2016 election.
News reported Tuesday that the intelligence was requested on the behest of former President Barack Obama during the last weeks of his administration.
The seven states compromised were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin, according to NBC News.
The fear now for many is that Russian Federation is already targeting the 2018 midterms.
DHS notified 21 states they had been targeted by Russian hackers in September, prompting criticism from state election officials that the agency had been too slow to alert them. In considering the systems "compromised", NBC News reported, the intelligence community believed Russians had gained entry into them.
The report states the penetration ranged from entering state websites to reaching actual voter registration databases. Evidence shows the systems were compromised in different ways with some being more serious than others. Only Illinois election officials have confirmed a breach, allowing foreign hackers to access 90,000 voter registration records.
Federal officials said late Tuesday that NBC's report was "factually inaccurate and misleading".
NBC reports six of the seven breached states still deny they were breached based on their own cyber investigations, suggesting a high level of sophistication in the Russian attack and a lack of preparation for US states to protect themselves in the 2018 midterm elections.
"To this day, six of the seven states deny they were breached, based on their own cyber investigations".
Manfra later issued a statement in response to the report, claiming NBC "misrepresented facts and confused the public with regard to Department of Homeland Security and state and local government efforts to combat election hacking".
Sources told NBC that not all information was shared due to the classification of sensitive information involving spies eavesdropping on Russian communications. "We have no intelligence ― new or old ― that corroborates NBC's reporting that state systems in seven states were compromised by Russian government actors". The department has been clear and consistent that we are aware of 21 states targeted by Russian government cyber actors leading up to the 2016 election.
The Department of Homeland Security's top cybersecurity official stated earlier this month that Russian Federation had tried to attack a total of 21 total states. In almost all states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed. "We stand by our state and local partners who are working diligently to secure the nation's election infrastructure in 2018 and beyond".