From Russia — again
The nation’s intelligence chiefs had some sobering news for American voters — the Russians aren’t finished meddling in our elections. Not by a long shot.
And even if the president of the United States remains in denial, state and local election officials — and certainly voters — can’t afford to follow his lead.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.
“Throughout the entire [intelligence] community we have not seen any evidence of any significant change from last year,” he added.
Voters can certainly expect an uptick in Russian propaganda efforts, especially on social media and often using automated bots, aimed at sowing discord and further inflaming internal divisions.
“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Coats said.
Meanwhile Russian hackers are targeting electoral systems — something the nation’s intelligence chiefs promised to detail in closed door briefings on Capitol Hill and share with state election officials.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week also alluded to “certain behaviors” associated with Russian election meddling already quite obvious to those who know what to look for.
That was a thought confirmed by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who added, “We do have some capabilities offensively to raise the cost for those who would dare challenge the United States elections.”
Forewarned is presumably forearmed. But there is no longer any doubt that the threat is real — only the occupant of the Oval Office seems not to comprehend that.