By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) 2020 Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden said earlier this month during an interview on CNN that during his and Barack Obama’s administration, the Russians would never have been allowed to meddle in U.S. elections.
“Look at what’s happening with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Biden said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“While Putin is trying to undo our elections, he is undoing elections in Europe. Look what’s happened in Hungary. Look what’s happened in Poland. Look what’s happened in Moldova.
“You think that would happen on my watch or Barack’s watch? You can’t answer that, but I promise you it wouldn’t have, and it didn’t,” Biden continued.
Except — that it did, according to a new Senate report.
The 67-page heavily redacted report did note, however, that “the Russian government directed extensive activity, beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into at least 2017, against U.S. election infrastructure at the state and local level.”
Politico reported further that the bipartisan committee found “no evidence” that electronic attacks changed any votes or got into voting machines themselves, which has been reported previously. However, the operations “exploited the seams between federal authorities and capabilities, and protections for the states.”
“State election officials, who have primacy in running elections, were not sufficiently warned or prepared to handle an attack from a hostile nation-state actor,” the report stated.
Mind you, Russia has been attempting to ‘influence’ American politics for decades — throughout the Cold War, for instance. By that measure, the U.S. also engages in political influence operations insofar as it can, since most societies we face as near-peer competitors are tightly controlled by authoritarian governments.
The difference today, according to the Senate report, is technology: Moscow and other countries are using the Internet, cyber operations, and other methods to infiltrate American society and election systems.
In a statement, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said the report should be a wake-up call.
“In 2016, the U.S. was unprepared at all levels of government for a concerted attack from a determined foreign adversary on our election infrastructure,” the statement said.
“There is still much work that remains to be done, however. It is my hope that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan report will provide the American people with valuable insight into the election security threats still facing our nation and the ways we can address them.”
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