The US Department of Homeland Security has released its October 2020 “Homeland Threat Assessment” and influence operations are one of the seven major threat areas covered. According to the DHS report:
Nation-states will continue to try to undermine American elections. Threats to our election have been another rapidly evolving issue. Nation-states like China, Russia, and Iran will try to use cyber capabilities or foreign influence to compromise or disrupt infrastructure related to the 2020 U. S. Presidential election, aggravate social and racial tensions, undermine trust in U. S. authorities, and criticize our elected officials. Perhaps most alarming is that our adversaries are seeking to sway the preferences and perceptions of U. S. voters using influence operations. Americans need to understand this threat and arm themselves with all information available to avoid falling prey to these tactics. While Russia has been a persistent threat by attempting to harm our democratic and election systems, it is clear China and Iran also pose threats in this space. The IC’s Election Threat Update from August 2020 and Microsoft’s announcement of cyber-attacks from China, Russia, and Iran provide further evidence of this threat and underscore the importance in public and private partnerships to secure democratic processes. DHS’s #Protect2020 website can help you understand the threat to our elections.
Read the report here.
The report also assesses that “Russia is the likely primary covert influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation within the Homeland.” The GIOR notes that this assessment, as we reported earlier, is in direct contradictions to a recent statement by the US National Security Advisor that China that was the most active of the countries trying to interfere in the upcoming US elections.
We will be parsing the relevant findings of the DHS report into the various GIOR sections shortly.