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Russia tried to influence 2020 election in Pro-Trump campaign says US intelligence
March 17, 2021
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In the 15-page report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday, a secret Russian operation was identified with the intention of spreading “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” against President Joe Biden. Moscow fed the allegations against the Biden campaign to allies of Donald Trump, US intelligence officials said.
The report writes that Moscow aimed to push influence narratives to US media, officials and prominent individuals including those close to former President Trump.
Adam Schiff, the Democratic House intelligence chair, said in a statement: “Russia interfered to support former President Trump, hurt President Biden, and undermine confidence in our electoral process.
“Through proxies, Russia ran a successful intelligence operation that penetrated the former president’s inner circle.
“Individuals close to the former president were targeted by agents of Russian intelligence including Andriy Derkach and Konstantin Kilimnik, who laundered misinformation into our political system, with the intent of denigrating now-President Biden and damaging his candidacy.”
The report also outlined several key judgments made about the election, primarily that there was no attempt to alter any technical aspect of the election such as voter registration and casting ballots.
The report continued to state that unlike the 2016 election, US intelligence operations did not detect any “Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure”.
It did, however, assess that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the influence operations aimed at “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy” and “supporting former President Trump”.
The report also identified the involvement of several other countries who tried to manipulate the election result.
Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and a range of other foreign actors took steps to deploy interference efforts.
Intelligence suggested that Iran “carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign” dedicated to undermining Mr Trump’s reelection prospects.
It added that Iran did not “directly promote” Mr Trump’s rivals in their attempt to undercut his campaign.
Mr Schiff continued: “No matter which nation seeks to influence our political system and who stands to benefit, both parties must speak with one voice and disavow all interference in our elections.
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“We must guard against and seek to deter all attempts at foreign interference, and ensure that American voters decide American elections.”