US Intelligence Report: Russia, China, Iran Sought to Influence 2018 Elections
By Jeff Seldin December 21, 2018
Russia, China and Iran sought to meddle in the recent U.S. midterm election, but their actions did not compromise the "nation's election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes," according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Director Dan Coats said U.S. intelligence did find "Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests."
But he said the intelligence community "did not make an assessment of the impact that these activities had on the outcome of the 2018 election."
The ODNI report on election meddling now goes to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the attorney general (AG), who have another 45 days to review the findings. If both the AG and DHS concur with the findings, the report could trigger automatic sanctions against Russia, China and Iran.
The U.S. intelligence community findings on election meddling support the initial assessment by DHS in the days and weeks following November's midterm elections.
"There were no indications at the time of any foreign compromises of election equipment that would disrupt the ability to cast or count a vote," Christopher Krebs, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, said in mid-November, adding at the time, "We haven't changed that assessment."
Quick reaction to the new report came from Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner, who said in a statement, "As the Director of National Intelligence reminds us, the Russians did not go away after the 2016 election.
"Now that the Russian playbook is out in the open, we're going to see more and more adversaries trying to take advantage. ... Congress has to step up and enact some much-needed guardrails on social media."
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