Cyber security expert challenges Tom Reed in 23rd Congressional District

Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano, an expert in cybersecurity, said this week she is “certain that 21st-century warfare will be cyberwarfare.”

“The hacking of 2016 was just the first skirmish, and I want to make sure that America is well-fortified into the future,” stated Mitrano, a Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, in the 23rd Congressional District

“Right now, we are terribly vulnerable, and neither Congress nor our executive is doing anything to improve our position.”

Mitrano’s statements came following the July 16 press conference in Helsinki between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump, who since took back or revised some comments — said among other things that he didn't see "any reason" why Russia would have been responsible for hacking the 2016 election, despite the finding of the U.S. intelligence agencies. The president also said Monday that Putin's denials of interference were "extremely strong and powerful."

Reed, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, downplayed concerns over Trump’s remarks and defended Trump’s performance with Putin.

“I think what the president was trying to articulate ... there is no evidence of collusion,” said Reed. Reed said he doesn’t see any evidence that the integrity of the 2016 election was jeopardized and he wants the investigation to end — “wrap up because it is causing tremendous confusion,” Reed said.

When a reporter asked Reed, “Why doesn’t it trouble you?” regarding Trump’s sidling up to Putin while turning his back on U.S. intelligence and criticizing American allies, Reed said, “We will continue to reach out to any world leaders.”

“At the end of day, when it comes to leaders of the European Union and Canada and Mexico, those relationships are strong and need to be reinforced,” said Reed, adding: “I will leave it to the president to deal with those leaders.”

“Neither Reed nor the president takes cyberattacks seriously, because neither Reed nor the president understands them,” stated Mitrano, a Cornell Law School graduate with a career in internet policy and information technology.

Mitrano, a Rochester native who lives in Penn Yan, seeks to unseat Reed, who was first elected in 2010.

“We have three branches of government so that no one branch will have too much power," stated Mitrano. "Our district must send a person to Congress who will question and push back against dangerous or craven executive speech and actions. Tom Reed is not that person; I will be.”