The director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center has warned that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are meddling in U.S. political campaigns as the November 3 general election draws closer.
“We see our adversaries seeking to compromise the private communications of U.S. political campaigns, candidates and other political targets,” William Evanina said Friday in a statement.
Evanina said that while the United States “is primarily concerned with China, Russia and Iran,” other countries and “nonstate actors” could also try to “harm our electoral process.”
China is trying to influence the “policy environment” in the U.S. with the intent of affecting the presidential race between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Evanina said.
He said “internet trolls and other proxies” are among a variety of disinformation campaigns Russia is using to “undermine confidence in our democratic process.”
Iran is also spreading disinformation online and via social media in an attempt to “undermine U.S. democratic institutions and divide the country in advance of the elections,” he added.
Evanina said the U.S. intelligence community would continue to watch for “malicious cyber actors” and touted the robust security of state election systems in the U.S. that make it “extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to broadly disrupt or change vote tallies without detection.”
He called on the American people to help ensure an orderly election by consuming information with a “critical eye” and by practicing “good cyber hygiene and media literacy.” The NCSC director also urged citizens to report suspicious activity to authorities.
VOA’s Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.