US intel: Foreign actors did not hack 2020 election, but several tried to influence

Election 2020 California Voting
Posted at 3:36 PM, Mar 16, 2021

Multiple nations attempted to influence and undermine the 2020 election, but none attempted to alter the actual vote counting of the election, according to a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made unclassified on Tuesday.

The now public report suggests that like in 2016, US intelligence officials believe that Russia tried to influence the presidential election to benefit President Donald Trump’s candidacy. The DNI says that Russia tried to push untrue and misleading allegations about Joe Biden.

The DNI also concluded that Iran attempted to influence the election to undercut Trump’s candidacy. Iran tried to undermine the public’s confidence in America’s electoral system and exacerbate social tensions, the DNI found.

Other nations, including Cuba and Venezuela, were found to attempt to meddle in the 2020 election, but had less influence than Iran and Russia.

Notably, the DNI concluded that China did not try to influence the results of the 2020 election. Officials said that China has been working toward normalizing relations with the US. The DNI said that China weighed influencing the election, but felt the risk of being caught would pose too much damage to the bilateral relationship.

The report also found that foreign governments did not attempt to alter or change the actual vote tabulation or voter registration.

“Foreign malign influence is an enduring challenge facing our country,” said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “These efforts by U.S. adversaries seek to exacerbate divisions and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions. Addressing this ongoing challenge requires a whole-of-government approach grounded in an accurate understanding of the problem, which the Intelligence Community, through assessments such as this one, endeavors to provide.”

Late last year, US intel officials issued a joint statement that described the presidential election as the “most secure in American history.”

The letter was signed by leaders of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Association of State Election Directors, among others. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency was established three years ago as a branch of Homeland Security during the Trump administration.

In bold, the authors of the statement wrote, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” This statement matches those from secretaries of state and boards of election throughout the US.