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RECOMMENDED READING: “The Real Threat of Foreign Interference Comes After Election Day”

November 4th, 2020 13:08

For­eign Affairs has post­ed an arti­cle assert­ing that the US may be most vul­ner­a­ble to for­eign influ­ence oper­a­tions after the elec­tions. The arti­cle begins:

With just days to go before the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Amer­i­cans are once again scrolling through news feeds full of sto­ries about for­eign oper­a­tions that seek to under­mine their country’s elec­toral process. Some of the reports raise ques­tions about whether the admin­is­tra­tion of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is politi­ciz­ing these concerns—and the pres­i­dent him­self has cast doubt on the integri­ty of the elec­tion. Amer­i­cans are left won­der­ing what to make of all the noise. The good news is that the Unit­ed States is bet­ter pre­pared to address many such threats than it was four years ago: its intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, pri­vate com­pa­nies, and inde­pen­dent researchers have met inter­fer­ence attempts with ear­ly detec­tion, expo­sure, and coun­ter­mea­sures, and they have act­ed par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive­ly to secure U.S. elec­tion infra­struc­ture. But Amer­i­cans should be pre­pared for for­eign actors to take some of their most sig­nif­i­cant actions in the days and weeks after Elec­tion Day—when the coun­try may actu­al­ly be most vul­ner­a­ble. Such a sce­nario has prece­dent. Rus­sia inter­fered in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2016, accord­ing to the Jan­u­ary 2017 Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Assess­ment, not sim­ply to hurt one can­di­date and help anoth­er but also “to under­mine pub­lic faith in the US demo­c­ra­t­ic process.” To that end, if Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton had won, Russ­ian offi­cials “were pre­pared to pub­licly call into ques­tion the valid­i­ty of the results” through state­ments and social media cam­paigns. Instead, Trump was announced the vic­tor, and Moscow shift­ed gears to take advan­tage of a divid­ed, and in some quar­ters out­raged, Amer­i­can public.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has report­ed on the long term threat posed by Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions as well as eval­u­a­tions of the var­i­ous state actors.