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RECOMMENDED READING: “With A Mix Of Covert Disinformation And Blatant Propaganda, Foreign Adversaries Bear Down On Final Phase Of Presidential Campaign”

October 16th, 2020 11:20

In late August, the Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed a use­ful analy­sis of the dif­fer­ence between the Russ­ian, Chi­nese, and Iran­ian approach to their cyber oper­a­tions aimed at the US elec­tions, con­clud­ing that Rus­sia is like­ly the biggest chal­lenge. There report begins:

August 21, 2020 When the nation’s top intel­li­gence offi­cials last spoke pub­licly togeth­er, in Jan­u­ary of last year, they said that for­eign adver­saries were eye­ing the 2020 elec­tions as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to launch “online influ­ence oper­a­tions” that seek to under­mine pub­lic con­fi­dence in demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion in the Unit­ed States.Now, the storm that the offi­cials fore­cast in their annu­al 2019 World­wide Threat Assess­ment is bear­ing down on the final phase of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, accord­ing to U.S. offi­cials and experts.At least three coun­tries — Rus­sia, Chi­na and Iran — have tak­en aim at the cam­paigns them­selves and tried to stir the pas­sions of vot­ers, with a mix of covert “infor­ma­tion laun­der­ing” and some ham-hand­ed pro­pa­gan­da. Rus­sia may pose the most direct chal­lenge to this year’s elec­tion. Offi­cials and experts also say it has reprised its 2016 seed­ing of social media with mis­lead­ing con­tent and is try­ing to ampli­fy sto­ries in the U.S. press that cast for­mer vice pres­i­dent Joe Biden in a neg­a­tive light, offi­cials and experts say.An exhaus­tive bipar­ti­san Sen­ate report issued Tues­day revealed in dis­turb­ing detail the exten­sive web of con­tacts between Krem­lin oper­a­tives and Trump cam­paign mem­bers in 2016 as Moscow attempt­ed to sway the elec­tion in Trump’s favor, and not­ed that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin per­son­al­ly direct­ed the hack-and-leak cam­paign aimed at dam­ag­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date Hillary Clinton.Russia may not have to work as hard this time to under­mine vot­er con­fi­dence. On a near-dai­ly basis, Pres­i­dent Trump asserts, false­ly, that mail-in vot­ing is rife with fraud and insists that if he los­es it will be the result of unprece­dent­ed corruption.In a recent broad­side, Trump said he oppos­es elec­tion aid for states and an emer­gency bailout for the U.S. Postal Ser­vice because he wants to restrict how many Amer­i­cans can vote by mail.

Reads the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed yes­ter­day on a sim­i­lar attempt by the Brook­ings Insti­tute to com­pare the three countries.