US Intel chief: China, Iran want to shatter Trump re-election, Russia aims to smash Biden bid
Statement decries foreign efforts as 'direct threat to the fabric of our democracy'
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — U.S. intelligence officials believe that China and Iran aims to torpedo President Donald Trump’s re-election bid and that Russia wants to tank Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s election chances.
The revelations came Friday in a rare public statement from William Evanina, the United States’ counterintelligence chief. It is a follow-up to a statement Evanina issued July 24 — 102 days before the Nov. 3 election — signaling that foreign nations are trying to compromise the election.
In that memo, he promised to expand upon intelligence findings, and he described Friday’s blockbuster report as fulfillment of that vow.
Among other assertions, Evanina’s new statement denounced foreign influencers’ efforts as “a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy.”
“Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters’ preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process,” Evanina’s new statement says.
Although many foreign nations have preferences about who will win the U.S. presidential contest, “covert influence efforts are rarer. We are primarily concerned about the ongoing and potential activity by China, Russia, and Iran,” wrote Evanina, who directs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center
He wrote thumbnails to illustrate some of the concerns:
• “CHINA – We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”
• “RUSSIA – We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’ This is consistent with Moscow’s public criticism of him when he was Vice President for his role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.”
• “IRAN – We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content.”
The intelligence assessments “represent the most current, accurate, and objective election threat information the IC has to offer in an unclassified setting at this time,” he wrote.
In addition to providing the information, Evanina sought to assure Americans that the intelligence community is striving to combat both cyber and influence efforts that target the U.S. election process.
Intelligence personnel also are supporting the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in their efforts to safeguard the election, he wrote.
“We are all in this together as Americans. Our election should be our own,” Evanina’s statement said. “Foreign efforts to influence or interfere with our elections are a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy.”
The full press release on Evanina’s statement is available on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
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