The office of the US Director of National Intelligence has declassified and released its report titled “Foreign Threats to the 2020 Elections” which concluded that while there were no indications of any foreign interference in the actual election processes, Russian President Putin did authorize a range of influence operations aimed at supporting Donald Trump, denigrating Joe Biden, and furthering divisiveness in the US. According to the report “Scope Note”:
This Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), as required by Executive Order (EO) 13848(l)(a), addresses key foreign actors’ intentions and efforts to influence or interfere with the 2020 US federal elections or to undermine public confidence in the US election process. It builds on analysis published throughout the election cycle and provided to Executive Branch and Congressional leaders. This ICA does not include an assessment of the impact foreign malign influence and interference activities may have had on the outcome ofthe 2020 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or actors, election administration or vote tabulation processes, or public opinion.
The following are the reports “Key Judgments” which additionally conclude that while Iran carried out similar election influence campaigns, China ultimately decided not to deploy such efforts:
- Kev Judgment 1: We have no indications that any foreign actor attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US elections, including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation, or reporting results.
- Kev Judgment 2: We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.
- Kev Judgment 3: We assess that Iran carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects—though without directly promoting his rivals—undermine public confidence in the electoral process and US institutions, and sow division and exacerbate societal tensions in the US. We have high confidence in this assessment. We assess that Supreme Leader Khamenei authorized the campaign and Iran’s military and intelligence services implemented it using overt and covert messaging and cyber operations.
- Kev Judgment 4: We assess that China did not deploy interference efforts and considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the US Presidential election.
- Kev Judgment 5: We assess that a range of additional foreign actors—including Lebanese Hizballah, Cuba, and Venezuela—took some steps to attempt to influence the election. In general, we assess that they were smaller in scale than the influence efforts conducted by other actors this election cycle.
Read the full report here.
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