by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Foreign governments including Iran, China, and Russia are expanding their covert operations to influence the 2020 U.S. elections, according to multiple senior intelligence and Trump administration officials who disclosed Monday that these countries are using a series of networks to foment unrest in America.
In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, the United States is already laying the groundwork to boost its own counter-operations and detection methods in order to thwart a possible attack on the nationwide election systems, as well as social media efforts by rogue nations to influence any results, these officials said.
Top U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, and military officials have already begun to meet with the 2020 political contenders as well as the respective political parties in a bid to unify data collection and help pinpoint the source of any foreign cyberstrike.
While Russia has been the primary focus since its well-documented efforts to sway the contentious 2016 presidential election and later the 2018 congressional midterms, intelligence officials disclosed that they have expanded their efforts to also monitor Iran, China, and North Korea.
“We’re focused on both infrastructure security as well as foreign influence operations,” a senior intelligence official said during a Monday afternoon press call that was held only on background. “From our perspective, … we do believe the 2020 elections are a potential target for state and nonstate actors.”