Intel report finds Russia, Iran tried to influence 2020 election

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The report did not name those people but seemed to be a reference to the work of Trump's former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who relentlessly pushed allegations of corruption about Biden and his family involving Ukraine.

The Russians were responsible for 'denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,' the report said, according to CNN.

The report's key findings did not flag any effort to promote Biden's presidency, only efforts by the Kremlin to boost Trump and by Iran to undercut him.

Russia's government, the report said, viewed President Biden's election as disadvantageous to the nation's interests relative to President Trump's re-election.

China considered efforts to influence the presidential vote, but ultimately concluded that any such operation would fail and likely backfire, intelligence officials concluded.

The intelligence report was released at the same time as a joint investigation by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security which came to a similar conclusion. The report found China did not interfere in the presidential race.

Still, the Russians attempted to influence the election on several fronts.

"The problem of foreign actors trying to influence the American electorate is not going away and, given the current partisan divides in this country, may find fertile ground in which to grow in the future", he said. Intelligence agencies also credited social media companies with acting faster to remove fake accounts and spreaders of disinformation.

But it said no foreign government had compromised the final results.

"Foreign malign influence is an enduring challenge facing our country", Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in a statement on Tuesday.

FILE — Voters cast ballots on the last day of early voting at a polling location Las Vegas Oct. 30 2020
FILE — Voters cast ballots on the last day of early voting at a polling location Las Vegas Oct. 30 2020

Iran, meanwhile, carried out its own influence campaign aimed at harming Trump's re-election bid, an effort USA officials say was probably approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

As in the 2016 election, the so-called Russian troll factory, formerly known as the Internet Research Agency, pushed disparaging stories on social media about Biden and Democrats and complained about censorship by the tech companies, the report said. The document makes clear that even while Trump has cried foul about the legitimacy of the election, intelligence officials believe Russian Federation sought to influence people close to Trump as a way to tip the election in his favor.

According to the intelligence community, the Islamic Republic's efforts were more disruptive in nature, without advocating for a candidate.

FILE - Voters cast ballots on the last day of early voting at a polling location Las Vegas, Oct. 30, 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the U.S", says the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Intelligence agencies were using different definitions of those terms, "potentially leading to the false impression that Russian Federation sought to influence the election and China did not", he said. "We assess this network also sought to discredit the Obama administration by emphasizing accusations of corruption by United States officials, and to falsely blame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 USA presidential election". USA officials see Russian Federation as the clearest threat to elections, given its track record.

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News.

Unmentioned in this report was the huge hack of federal computer systems using a vulnerability in software made by SolarWinds.

Ayatollah Khamenei, the report said, probably authorized a "whole of government effort" that included spear-phishing strikes on government and campaign officials and a campaign to send threatening emails to Democratic voters that appeared falsely to be from the far-right Proud Boys group.

The report is based on a classified document that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent to Congress on January 7.

Evanina also said that "China prefers that President Trump - whom Beijing sees as unpredictable - does not win reelection".

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