Former Homeland Security secretary and Chairman, Committee of Conscience, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Michael Chertoff speaks at a press conference on November 12, 2015.
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images
July 29, 2016 10:37 AM EDT

A bipartisan group of former national and homeland security officials called on the U.S. government Thursday to treat to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee as an attack on American democracy, and to take actions to defend against any attempt to disrupt or affect the outcome of the Presidential election in November.

The group, which includes George W. Bush’s former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden, and former Democratic ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman, called on the President to determine who was behind the attack and officially identify the perpetrator.

“The investigation of these events should have the highest priority. If true, this is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy,” the officials said. “This is not a partisan issue. All parties should agree that foreign efforts to influence our elections through hacking and stealing confidential records must be deterred and thwarted through a strong and unified response.”

Many of the officials are meeting in Aspen Colorado for the annual conference of senior government and private sector experts in national and homeland security, the Aspen Security Forum. A recurring theme of the conference among intelligence and other officials has been the danger that cyber intrusions could hold for the validity of the election in November.

“Our electoral process could be a target for reckless foreign governments and terrorist groups,” the officials said. “The voting process is critical to our democracy and must be proof against such attacks or the threat of such attacks. Voting processes and results must receive security akin to that we expect for critical infrastructure.”

The text of the letter follows:

AIHSG Statement on DNC Hack

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at

Read More From TIME
You May Also Like