Senior Intelligence Officer: Iran, China, and Russia Are Targeting U.S. Election
On Friday, a senior intelligence official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) warned that Russia, China and Iran are working to sway the 2020 election, according to The Hill.
- William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in a statement that the ODNI had been offering regular briefings to members of Congress, presidential campaigns and political committees on the election threats in recent months.
“Foreign nations continue to use influence measures in social and traditional media in an effort to sway U.S. voters’ preferences and perspectives, to shift U.S. policies, to increase discord and to undermine confidence in our democratic process,” Evanina said in a statement on Friday. “The coronavirus pandemic and recent protests, for instance, continue to serve as fodder for foreign influence and disinformation efforts in America.”
- Evanina also warned that the primary concern was currently with China, Russia and Iran but noted that “other nation states and non-state actors could also do harm to our electoral process.”
- Of China, Evanina said the country is attempting to “shape the policy environment” in the United States and was conscious that such efforts could “affect the presidential race.”
- He warned that Russia and Iran, on the other hand, “are deliberately seeking to weaken U.S. democratic institutions, including elections, with Russia using ‘internet trolls and proxies’ to spread disinformation to undermine elections, and Iran circulating 'anti-U.S. content' online through separate disinformation efforts.”
“Our adversaries also seek to compromise our election infrastructure, and we continue to monitor malicious cyber actors trying to gain access to U.S. state and federal networks, including those responsible for managing elections,” Evanina said.
- However, he added that “the diversity of election systems among the states, multiple checks and redundancies in those systems, and post-election auditing all make it extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to broadly disrupt or change vote tallies without detection.”
- Evanina also said that the American public must remain vigilant even as the government works to protect the elections.
“As Americans, we are all in this together; our elections should be our own. Foreign efforts to influence or interfere with our elections are a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy,” Evanina said. “Neutralizing these threats requires not just a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-nation effort.”