Senator Rejects Google SVP's Election Security Testimony Offer

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A top Republican Senator rejected an election security testimony offer from Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google. North Carolina representative Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was offered Mr. Walker’s testimony on Thursday but dismissed the option, his office confirmed in a statement provided to CNET. The reason for the unexpected move remains unclear, especially as the Google executive’s offer came following months of vocal displeasure from some stateside lawmakers over the manner in which the Silicon Valley is handling election interference attempts, with select legislators calling for the tech industry to do more to ensure the integrity of the upcoming mid-terms.

Mr. Walker offered to testify as part of the Senate committee’s next hearing on election security which is scheduled to take place on September 5. Google’s top executive is still said to be planning to visit Washington on that date and reiterate his willingness to contribute to the conversation and answer questions on the topic. Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is expected to represent the microblogging platform at the hearing, with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also being set to make an appearance at the gathering.

Earlier this week, Mr. Walker revealed that Google curbed a misinformation campaign that it strongly believes was funded by state-backed Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. The disclosure came a mere day after Facebook said it discovered and eliminated a similar misinformation effort originating from the Middle Eastern country, though the social media giant didn’t claim to have evidence of the campaign being sponsored by Tehran. In both instances, the tech juggernauts were aided by cybersecurity firm FireEye which helped identify suspicious account activity. While details on the incidents remain vague, both are believed to have been targeting the American public, possibly with the goal of influencing the outcome of the upcoming mid-term election taking place on November 6.