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DHS Releases 2020 Report on Homeland Threats- Russia Judged To Be Primary State Actor In Influence Operations

October 17th, 2020 12:52

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.