The top U.S. counterintelligence official announced Friday a series of foreign threats facing the 2020 presidential election, warning in particular that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden while China prefers that President Trump not win reelection.
By Olivia Beavers
SOURCE: THE HILL
William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, pointed to China, Russia and Iran as the three primary foreign threats to the U.S. presidential race, cautioning that they are seeking to “sway voters’ preferences and perspectives,” sow discord and “undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process.”
“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,” Evanina said in a statement.
Evanina said the U.S. intelligence community has found that China does not want Trump to win reelection because it views him as “unpredictable,” pointing to Beijing’s criticisms of his statements and actions toward Hong Kong, video app TikTok, 5G cellular networks and the legal battle over the South China Sea.
“Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current Administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate, and actions on other issues,” said Evanina. “Beijing recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the presidential race.”
The top intelligence official said Russia is trying to hurt Biden and others whom it views as an anti-Russia “establishment.”
The official said this is in line with how Russia felt toward Biden during his time in the Obama administration, in particular his role in advancing “policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.” READ MORE HERE