On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed confidence that foreign countries, including potentially Russia and China, would attempt to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.
“Yes, I am confident that many countries will do their level best to have an impact on our election,” Pompeo said during a virtual event hosted by The Hill on the future of national security. “Foreign efforts to interfere in American elections is something we constantly must contend with, and we’ll contend with that here.”
Pompeo made the remarks in response to a question from The Hill’s editor-in-chief, Bob Cusack, on whether Russia was interfering in the election process this year. Four years ago, Russian agents launched a sweeping interference campaign during the lead-up to the 2016 elections. The secretary also pointed out proactive efforts by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security since 2016 “to make sure our adversaries understand the cost imposed” if they attempt to interfere in U.S. elections.
“The American people should rest assured that whether it’s Chinese interference, Iranian interference, Russian interference, or North Korean interference, any country, or even non-state actors who now have capabilities to try to meddle in our elections, know that this administration takes seriously its responsibility to make sure every American’s vote is counted, counted properly, and that foreign influence is minimized,” Pompeo said.
Election security has been a great area of concern since 2016, when, according to former special counsel Robert Mueller, Russian agents targeted election infrastructure in all 50 states and launched a wide-ranging disinformation campaign on social media.
Among foreign threats in the 2020 elections, domestic threats are persistent too. As COVID ‘spikes’ due to increased testing surface and local clerks converting to “mail-in” ballots, President Trump has said postal ballots would lead to “the most corrupt election” in US history.
But the expansion of postal voting is contentious, and President Donald Trump has said postal ballots – know as “mail-in” ballots in the US – would lead to “the most corrupt election” in US history.
Recently, Google’s Threat Analysis Group found evidence that Iranian hackers were targeting Trump campaign staff with malicious phishing emails, and that Chinese hackers were targeting the emails of staffers working for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. Both campaigns told The Hill that they were aware of the threats.