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Feds Warn About Election Hacking

Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign countries will seek to interfere in U.S. elections in 2020, by either tampering with the voting process or influencing voter perceptions, a group of U.S. federal government officials said in a joint statement released Tuesday.

“Our adversaries want to undermine our democratic institutions, influence public sentiment, and affect government policies,” the officials write. “Adversaries may try to accomplish their goals through a variety of means, including social media campaigns, directing disinformation operations, or conducting disruptive or destructive cyberattacks on state and local infrastructure.”

The U.S. agencies that joined together to release the statement include the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the FBI.

The U.S. officials that signed on to the statement include Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, outgoing acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In the statement, the officials said the federal agencies have increased support to states and localities for election security. The sharing of threat intelligence will be a priority, the officials added.

“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 officials write.

The statement came as voters in several states casted ballots in local and statewide elections on Tuesday.

“While at this time we have no evidence 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, we continue to vigilantly monitor any threats to U.S. elections,” the officials write.

For more information on election security, see the Security Management article “Rebuilding Trust After the 2016 Election”.