US intelligence issues warnings on foreign meddling in US elections

by ian

U.S. intelligence has issued some points of concern as we approach the 2024 U.S. elections.

In a briefing yesterday, one official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that foreign nations are again meddling in our elections. Of particular concern are some rather common names – Russia, China and Iran.

When discussing all of these nations simultaneously, the official said, “Russia is a preeminent threat. Iran is a chaos agent, and China is holding fire on the presidential race.”

For Russia, U.S. intelligence says the nation plans to “covertly use social media” to sway public opinion. The official says they are seeing “Russia target specific voter demographics, promote divisive narratives and denigrate specific politicians.” The goal is to reportedly maintain influence in all aspects of the election – from Congressional to Presidential.

There was not much more elaboration on these efforts, but it evoked similar warnings of Russian interference during both the 2016 and 2020 elections. Reports suggest that Trump is the favorite candidate for Russia this year, similar to reports in the previous two elections. But this year’s report has not yet been widely corroborated.

Shifting now to China, ODNI said that the nation is also seeking to influence our elections but to a much lesser degree. The intelligence official says that China has simultaneously tried to “intensify efforts to influence US policy” while saying that it would not interfere in this year’s election.

According to the intelligence official

Even if Beijing sets limits on its activities … the PRC’s influence apparatus is very large and at times unwieldy, and individuals that are not under its direct supervision may attempt to influence election activities that they perceive are in line with Beijing’s goals.

Finally, intelligence says that Iran wants to stoke societal division in America. One of the primary driving factors for this goal is to encourage and provoke anti-Israel protests in America.

Director Avril Haines issued a statement on Tuesday saying:

We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters.

Haines says that those who are targeted by such a campaign might not be aware they are being supported by Iran. She cautioned these individuals to “remain vigilant” when interacting with others online.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre seconded this warning during a recent press briefing.