WASHINGTON, August 8. /TASS/. Three months before the presidential elections in the United States, the US government once again accused its main opponents on the international arena - Russia, China and Iran - of attempts to interfere into the electoral process.
"Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters’ preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process," National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) Director William Evanina said in a statement.
"Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer. We are primarily concerned about the ongoing and potential activity by China, Russia, and Iran," the statement says.
In Washington’s opinion, Russia is trying to "denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’" According to Evanina, certain ‘Kremlin-linked’ actors "are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television."
China and Iran, at the same time, are reluctant to see Trump re-elected, the US official added.
"We assess that China prefers that President Trump - whom Beijing sees as unpredictable - does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China," Evanina said.
According to US counter-intelligence, "Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions," to disrupt the activities of Trump’s administration and "to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections."
"Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content," the US intelligence official said.
Overall, according to Evanina, foreign states may attempt to compromise the work of the US electoral infrastructure with the purpose of "interfering with the voting process, stealing sensitive data, or calling into question the validity of the election results."
"Foreign efforts to influence or interfere with our elections are a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy," he said. "However, it would be difficult for our adversaries to interfere with or manipulate voting results at scale."
The NCSC director presented no evidence to support his statements. According to the document, "the intelligence assessments above represent the most current, accurate, and objective election threat information the IC has to offer in an unclassified setting at this time."
The US intelligence services incriminate Russia of meddling in the 2016 US elections. These alleged influence attempts were investigated by former head of FBI Robert Mueller for almost two years. On April 18, 2019 the US Department of Justice made public his final report where the US special counsellor acknowledged that no collusion has taken place between Russian authorities and the US presidential candidate Donald Trump who had won the election. Trump himself repeatedly denied suspicions of any wrongful contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign. Moscow also repeatedly denied rumors of attempts to influence the US elections.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that as the presidential election approaches, more and more "paranoid reports" of Russia’s alleged interference would appear. "They certainly have nothing to do with the truth," he added.