US Govt. Warns Of Potential Threat From China, Iran, Russia To 2020 Election

2020election1 nov06

Heads of seven key U.S. federal agencies and departments warned in a joint statement that "foreign malicious actors" including Iran, China and Russia would try to interfere in the country's 2020 presidential elections.

The statement was issued by Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, FBI Director Christopher Wray, U.S. Cyber Command Commander and NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, and CISA Director Christopher Krebs.

"Our adversaries want to undermine our democratic institutions, influence public sentiment and affect government policies. Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions," they said in the statement.

They expressed concern that "Adversaries may try to accomplish their goals through a variety of means, including social media campaigns, directing disinformation operations or conducting disruptive or destructive cyber-attacks on state and local infrastructure".

The high-ranking officials of the Trump administration said they have increased the level of support to state and local election officials in their efforts to protect elections.

While there is no evidence yet of a compromise or disruption to election infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt the ability to tally votes, the security and intelligence agencies are vigilantly monitoring any threats to U.S. elections.

In an unprecedented level of coordination, the U.S. government is working with all 50 states and U.S. territories, local officials, and private sector partners to identify threats, broadly share information, and protect the democratic process.

The statement comes at a time when President Donald Trump is facing impeachment inquiry over the accusation that he sought a foreign government's help to investigate his potential presidential rival Joe Biden.

House Democrats heard in a testimony that Trump proposed to release military aid to Ukraine on condition that his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky promise to conduct an investigation of the former Vice President and his son Hunter Biden.

Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, has been accused of improperly pressuring Ukraine to fire then-General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin amid concerns he was investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company whose board Hunter Biden served on.

The president has admitted discussing the issue with Zelensky but has repeatedly claimed there was "no quid pro quo."

Former special counsel Robert Mueller, who probed Russian interference in the last American presidential election, had told Congress that "many more countries are developing capabilities to replicate what the Russians have done ... They are doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign."

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