• The Financial District


Voters should be on high alert for foreign interference in the November 3 election, the US counterintelligence agency chief said on Friday in a rare warning that the public should screen information, check online sources and report suspicious actions, Mark Hosenball wrote for Reuters on July 24, 2020.

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 US 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 US 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 US intelligence community assessment found Russia meddled in the 2016 election and its goals included aiding US President Donald Trump, who sought it. Evanina said China, Russia and Iran are interfering but other countries and non-state actors “could also do harm to our electoral process.”

Leading Democratic legislators complained that Evanina’s warning did not go far enough. They said his statement “gives a false sense of equivalence to the actions of foreign adversaries by listing three countries of unequal intent, motivation and capability together.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, and top intelligence committee Democrats Sen. Mark Warner and Rep Adam Schiff said Evanina “fails to fully delineate the goal, nature, scope and capacity to influence our election. To say without more, for example, that Russia seeks to ‘denigrate what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment’ in America’ is so generic as to be almost meaningless.”

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