FOREIGN countries are taking sides and steps to meddle in the 2020 election, with China and Iran partial to Joe Biden and Russia favoring President Donald Trump, intelligence officials believe.
The US intelligence community disclosed the information on Friday via a press release from National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina.
In his statement, Evanina wrote that “many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election,” and express it overtly and privately.
Specifically, the US intelligence community is concerned about ongoing and possible new activity from China, Iran and Russia.
“We assess that China prefers that President Trump—whom Beijing sees as unpredictable—does not win reelection,” Evanina wrote.
“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.”
China’s harsh criticism of the Trump administration’s position and actions on Hong Kong and TikTok are other indications, Evanina stated.
Meanwhile, the US intelligence community assessed that Iran “seeks to undermine US democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections.”
Iran is expected to spread disinformation online and on social media.
“Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of US pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change,” Evanina stated.
Regarding Russia, the US intelligence community determined that Vladimir Putin’s country is “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’”
Of note, Moscow has publicly criticized Biden’s policies as vice president on Ukraine and its opposition to Russia.
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“Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television,” Evanina wrote.
Evanina’s statement is the most direct communication the US intelligence community has put out to inform the American public of threats to the integrity of the November presidential election.
In response, the White House stated that the US will not tolerate foreign election meddling and “will respond to malicious foreign threats that target our democratic institutions.”
The Trump campaign stated that it does not want or need help from foreign actors to win the election and that China and Iran are against Trump because he “held them accountable after years of coddling by politicians like Joe Biden.”
However, Biden campaign senior adviser Tony Blinken claimed that Trump has invited foreign meddling in American elections and that Biden “on the other hand, has led the fight against foreign interference for years.”