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Attempts to influence US elections are growing, officials warn

An increasing number of foreign actors, including non-state actors, are trying to influence U.S. elections.

Russia, China and Iran, although they are the most important, are far from alone in their attempts, American authorities warned a Senate committee this Wednesday (15).

“Russia, specifically, remains the most active foreign threat to our elections,” said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

“The Russian government’s objectives in these influence operations tend to include diminishing trust in American democratic institutions, intensifying sociopolitical divisions in the US, and degrading Western support for Ukraine.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said intelligence assessments, which are no longer classified, have identified not only Russia, China and Iran, but also Cuba, Venezuela, Islamic militants and “several foreign hacker activists and profit-motivated cyber criminals” trying to influence American politics.

“Barriers against the entry of foreign malign influence, including election influence, have become almost nonexistent,” Warner said.

The senator listed foreign attempts to influence elections and public opinion, including harassment operations against candidates and imitations of American organizations, such as Russian impostor social media accounts pretending to represent the Tennessee Republican Party and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We have seen a growing number of Americans, from all political backgrounds, who simply do not trust U.S. institutions, from federal agencies and local police to mainstream media institutions, along with an increased reliance on media platforms online that are easily manipulated.”

Congressional committees began investigating alleged foreign, especially Russian, efforts to influence American public opinion after US intelligence agencies concluded that Kremlin-backed entities tried to boost Republican Donald Trump's chances in the 2016 presidential election.

Moscow denies involvement.

Trump is running for re-election this year against Democratic President Joe Biden, who defeated him in 2020.

Source: CNN Brasil

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