Russia desires America to hate Hunter Biden. That, and different odd claims, are on the coronary heart of a newly declassified report from the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (DNI), which seeks to stipulate the methods wherein international nations used propaganda to affect the course of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election and to sow discord, typically.
The 15-page report, revealed Tuesday, alleges that a number of international nations used social media campaigns and different operations to push varied sorts of messaging to U.S. voters throughout election season. Russia and Iran have been the largest offenders, although Cuba, Venezuela, and the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah (additionally spelled Hezbollah) additionally joined in on the enjoyable, officers declare.
The report, which was beforehand shared with the Biden administration and Congressional management again in January, offers some context to how America’s adversaries sought to form public opinion to curry favorable political outcomes for themselves. Listed here are the highlights.
Russia Went After the Bidens
The Kremlin is alleged to have gone to nice efforts to smear presidential candidate Joe Biden whereas supporting incumbent Donald Trump. Based on the report, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the “Russian State authorized and conducted influence operations” throughout the election aimed toward “denigrating President Biden and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions.” The report additional states:
“A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to Russian intelligence to launder influence narratives including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden through U.S. media organizations, U.S. officials, and prominent U.S. individuals, some of whom were close to former President Trump and his administration.”
These operations apparently included amplifying right-wing conspiracy theories about voter fraud and electoral dysfunction, in addition to serving to to flow into the allegations of misconduct involving Biden’s son, Hunter, and Biden himself. Russian operatives “heavily amplified related content circulating in U.S. media, including stories that center on his son,” the report claims, alleging that Russian brokers sought to persuade People that there existed “corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other U.S. officials and Ukraine” and that they did this by “Ukraine-linked proxies and these proxies’ networks—including their U.S. contacts—to spread this narrative to give Moscow plausible deniability of their involvement.”
Iran Went After Trump
The Trump administration was not form to Iran: it assassinated one of many nation’s most beloved army leaders, killed the Obama-era “Iran deal,” and instituted a “maximum pressure” marketing campaign in opposition to the nation that included brutal sanctions and covert operations. That’s, probably, why the nation’s management appears to have needed to make Trump look as dangerous as doable throughout the 2020 presidential race.
The report says that Iran “carried out multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut President Trump’s reelection prospects.” A lot of Iran’s efforts concerned manipulation on social media, the report states:
“We assess that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei probably authorized Iran’s influence campaign that it was a whole of government effort, judging from the involvement of multiple Iranian Government elements…Iran focused its social media and propaganda on perceived vulnerabilities in the United States, including the response to the covid-19 pandemic, economic recession, and civil unrest.”
A lot of this had been beforehand reported. In the event you’ll bear in mind, Iranian brokers have been infamously outed as having run a spoofed electronic mail marketing campaign, wherein they claimed to be members of the Trump-aligned Proud Boys group. From these accounts, Iranian brokers despatched threatening emails to Democratic voters all through the U.S., “demanding that the individuals change their party affiliation and vote to reelect former President Trump,” in an obvious effort to make Trump and his acolytes look dangerous.
China Stayed Out of It
Curiously, the report claims that China in some way stayed above the disinformation fray, preferring to sway the presidential race utilizing regular channels similar to “economic measures and lobbying.” The report claims:
“China sought stability in its relationship with the United States, did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling, and assessed its traditional influence tools—primarily targeted economic measures and lobbying—would be sufficient to meet its goal of shaping U.S. China policy regardless of the winner,” the report claims.
Hacking Was Minimal—however Nonetheless Occurred
The report additionally says that Russian hackers have been in a position to acquire entry to state and native election techniques and truly steal information, although the DNI downplays the importance of this hacking and claims it had no impact on the end result of the election. The report says these cyber operations have been a part of a broader intelligence gathering effort:
We decide that Russian cyber operations that focused and compromised US state and native authorities networks in 2020—together with exfiltrating some voter information—have been in all probability not election-focused and as a substitute a part of a broader marketing campaign focusing on dozens of US and world entities.
No cyber exercise “attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 U.S. elections, including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation or reporting results,” the report claims.