NewsNewsChannel 5 Investigates


FBI says it's concerned about outside interference in upcoming election

generic - early voting
Posted at 2:37 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 15:59:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The 2020 presidential election is now just a little more than a month away, and early voting starts in just a couple of weeks.

But how do you know your vote will count? We've heard so much recently about other countries including Russia trying to interfere with the election.

The FBI says it's concerned. But the agency wants people to know that while there are serious threats to the election process, the FBI is working, as it has in past elections, to ensure that we have a free and fair election.

While you may still be trying to decide who you're going to vote for, the FBI is already working to make sure your vote gets counted and is doing all it can to identify and stop anything that might interfere with the election process.

"How concerned should people be? How concerned are you?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Douglas Korneski, the Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Memphis field office which covers Nashville.

"I wouldn’t be speaking to you if I wasn’t concerned," he told us.

"So what do you see as the biggest threat that we face right now?" we asked.

"The most prolific would probably be the use of the social media that’s out there. I think our election infrastructure, for the most part, is pretty secure and it is not all connected to where one infiltration could potentially affect the entire system," Korneski explained.

Foreign countries are coming at us online, through social media, and in cyberattacks, and trying to stay ahead of them, Korneski said, is a challenge.

"Russia, China, and Iran are the predominant adversaries that we are concerned about. Russia is probably the most prolific and probably the most adept at misinformation and particularly utilizing social media to put out disinformation, but China and Iran have learned from them in previous elections and they have their own agendas," Korneski shared.

The FBI won't discuss its strategies or give specifics as to how the department is fighting these threats, but Korneski said agents have taken part in a series of exercises with the Department of Homeland Security and state and local authorities where they have worked through potential scenarios of what could happen on Election Day and how they would handle it.

"Does it keep you up at night?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates wondered.

"To a certain extent, it does. But I have a lot of faith in our agents and our partners and our ability to address the threats," he said.

Korneski said the FBI also has agents working with the U.S. Postal Service and postal inspectors to stop any potential mail-in ballot fraud. On Election Day, the FBI will have special command posts set up in Nashville and around the country, monitoring things and making sure that everything runs smoothly and as it should.

For more information on what the FBI is doing to protect the electoral process and system, click here.