Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia, China, Iran Tried to Influence Midterm Elections, U.S. Says


What DNI Coats looked for:

  • Compromise of nation’s election infrastructure that would have prevented voting
  • Changed vote counts
  • Disruption of the ability to tally votes

Regarding influence:

“Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests.”

There does not seem to be an effort to quantify Russian, Chinese, or Iranian efforts to influence US elections. 

As was done in the 2016 election, we will

  • Tally raw numbers of Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts from Russian Troll Factory accounts
  • Tally any political ads from possible Russian troll or Russian special services accounts
  • Tally raw numbers of accounts possibly exposed to Russian Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram accounts, and political ads bought and paid for by possible Russians.

From the New York Times, Russians Tried, but Were Unable to Compromise Midterm Elections, U.S. Says

Officials said the statement would include no assessment of the effectiveness of the Russian information campaign — nor would offer more details. The public report will not include an assessment on whether Russian attempts at election meddling were tilted toward a particular party or candidate. Current and former American officials have said that Russian propaganda efforts in the midterm elections were less than expected.

Put it in the “too hard to do” category, to actually study and quantify actual effects on the election, once again. This clearly falls on both the DNI, including the FBI, to gauge the effects of foreign interference on US elections. 

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Russia, China, Iran Tried to Influence Midterm Elections, U.S. Says

President Donald Trump’s top intelligence adviser said Russia, China and Iran tried to influence the November midterm elections but didn’t compromise infrastructure to tamper with vote counts.

“Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a statement Friday, following a review of the election by his office.

Dan Coats
Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

Trump had ordered Coats’s office to conduct a review within 45 days of the Nov. 6 election amid calls for the president to respond more forcefully to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. The report, delivered to the White House on Friday, wasn’t released to the public.

The intelligence community didn’t find evidence that the election infrastructure had been breached in a way that could’ve prevented voting, changed vote counts or disrupted the ability to tally votes, Coats said. The Justice and Homeland Security departments have 45 days under the executive order to review the findings and respond with recommendations.

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