Russia and Iran tried to interfere in the 2020 elections, US intelligence agencies say.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) during their meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace on March 28, 2017 in Moscow, Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov | fake images

Russia and Iran carried out operations to try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, according to a US intelligence report released Tuesday.

The US intelligence community also determined that China did not attempt to change the outcome of the 2020 races and said there is no indication that foreign actors have attempted to alter US ballots or vote tabulation, the report says.

The assessment was released as the Biden administration works to strengthen relations with key US allies in order to put pressure on Russia and Iran.

Tehran and Moscow have previously denied any involvement in trying to influence the US elections.

But the report said that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “influence operations aimed at denigrating the candidacy of President Biden and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the United States.” .

One of Moscow’s key strategies, according to the report, was to use Russian intelligence-related powers to spread misleading claims and narratives among certain American media outlets and individuals, “including some close to former President Trump and his administration.”

Those plans were implemented by “a number of Russian government organizations,” according to the report.

Iran, meanwhile, “carried out a covert multi-front campaign of influence aimed at undermining former President Trump’s re-election prospects, albeit without directly promoting his rivals, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and American institutions, and sow division and exacerbate social tensions in the country. ” USA, “according to the report.

Intelligence experts also found that China, previously thought to be expanding its influence efforts in the United States, ultimately failed to implement operations to affect the outcome of the Trump-Biden election.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Fred Dufour | AFP | fake images

“China sought stability in its relationship with the United States, but did not consider any of the election results to be advantageous enough for China to risk being caught meddling,” the report said.

Beijing “assessed that its traditional tools of influence – primarily targeted economic measures and lobbying – would be sufficient to fulfill its goal of shaping US-China policy regardless of the winner.”

However, one expert, the National Intelligence Officer for Cybernetics, assessed that China “took some steps to try to undermine the re-election of former President Trump.”

Those assessments, each of which was delivered with “high confidence,” came in a declassified report released through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The investigation was conducted by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA.

The report also found that, unlike the previous presidential election cycle, there was no indication that foreign actors attempted to tamper with voter registration, ballots, or vote tabulation in the 2020 U.S. elections.

“We assessed that it would be difficult for a foreign actor to manipulate electoral processes at scale without being detected by gathering intelligence on the actors themselves, through physical and cyber security monitoring around voting systems across the country, or in post-election audits, “the authors. of the intelligence report wrote.

In a statement, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, emphasized that the report shows that Russia remains the biggest threat to the US elections.

While China and Iran also “took specific measures related to the US elections,” Schiff said, they were at “a much less significant or systematic level than those undertaken by Russia.”

“We must be clear and forthright with the American people that different countries have different intentions and capabilities, and are not equal threats to our free and fair elections,” Schiff said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said that while the United States has strengthened its defenses against foreign interference, “The problem of foreign actors trying to influence the American electorate is not going away, and given the current partisan divisions in this country, they may find fertile ground in which to grow in the future.”

In addition to Iran and Russia, the investigation found that Cuba, Venezuela, and the Lebanese Hezbollah also worked to influence the elections, albeit on a smaller scale.

The unclassified assessment released Tuesday is based on analysis the intelligence community provided to policymakers throughout the 2020 election cycle.


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