July 27 Montana News Briefs

Friday, July 27, 2018

Official: Russian hackers targeted 2016 Montana election

HELENA (AP) — Montana’s secretary of state has said for the first time that Russian hackers unsuccessfully probed the state’s election systems for weaknesses in 2016. The acknowledgement by Secretary Corey Stapleton Friday in his occasional newsletter appears to contradict a previous statement by state elections officials that Montana was not among states targeted. Stapleton’s elections director did not immediately respond to a request for an explanation. Stapleton says Russian agents tried to interfere with the 2016 elections and that “almost half the states (including Montana) were scanned for weaknesses in our elections systems.” He says no votes were changed, but it was a clear threat to fair elections. Elections Director Dana Corson in March told The Associated Press that Montana was not among states targeted by hackers in 2016.

Court rules against logging project in northwestern Montana

HELENA (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled against a proposed logging project in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service improperly calculated whether the project would exceed limits set for road construction in threatened grizzly bear habitat. The judges sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen, who approved the East Reservoir logging project in 2016. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued in 2015 to block the 143-square-mile (370-square-kilometer) project on the east side of Lake Koocanusa. The environmental group argued the logging would harm the habitat of grizzly bears and other threatened species, such as bull trout and lynx.