U.S. counterspy gives rare warning on foreign meddling in U.S. election

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Voters should be on high alert for foreign interference in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, the U.S

Reuters July 25, 2020 00:12:17 IST
U.S. counterspy gives rare warning on foreign meddling in U.S. election

US counterspy gives rare warning on foreign meddling in US election

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Voters should be on high alert for foreign interference in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, the U.S. counterintelligence agency chief said on Friday in a rare warning that the public should screen information, check online sources and report suspicious actions.

William Evanina, chief of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), said that with just over 100 days to the election, it was "imperative" his agency share with voters some of the information about possible interference that U.S. spies have given to campaigns and legislators.

"The American public has a role to play in securing the election, particularly in maintaining vigilance against foreign influence," said Evanina, who directs the counterintelligence branch of the U.S. Office the Director of National Intelligence.

"At the most basic level, we encourage Americans to consume information with a critical eye, check out sources before reposting or spreading messages, practice good cyber hygiene and media literacy, and report suspicious election-related activity to authorities," he added in a written statement.

A January 2017 U.S. intelligence community assessment found Russia meddled in the 2016 election and its goals included aiding U.S. President Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on whether Moscow interfered in that vote.

Given the complexity of U.S. vote counting and auditing systems, Evanina said it would be "extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to broadly disrupt or change vote tallies without detection."

However, Evanina said U.S. spy agencies now see foreign adversaries trying to compromise U.S. political campaigns and candidates, as well as elections infrastructure.

He said foreign nations are trying to influence U.S. voters via social and traditional media, using issues including the coronavirus pandemic and domestic protests as disinformation fodder.

Evanina said his agency was mainly concerned with interference by China, Russia and Iran, though other unnamed countries and non-state actors "could also do harm to our electoral process."

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Arshad Mohammed and Richard Chang)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.