August 12, 2020

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Issues Statement on Securing 2020 Elections

Holland & Knight Cybersecurity and Privacy Blog
Jason Klitenic | Marissa C. Serafino

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has issued a public statement regarding U.S. government efforts to safeguard the upcoming election from foreign threats.

According to the Aug. 7, 2020, statement issued by ODNI's National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) Director William Evanina, foreign state actors will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in an effort to:

  • shape U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives
  • impact U.S. policies
  • sow national discord
  • undermine Americans' confidence in the democratic process

The statement, which builds upon ODNI's previously issued statement on July 24, 2020, also makes clear that foreign adversaries might use a variety of tactics to attack and otherwise compromise U.S. election infrastructure in order to:

  • interfere with the voting process
  • steal sensitive data
  • question the validity of election results

ODNI notably identifies three particular nation states – China, Russia and Iran – as being foreign actors of primary concern based on ongoing or potential activity. ODNI also makes clear that the U.S. Intelligence Community is supporting a multiagency effort to secure the 2020 elections, and in doing so is working particularly close with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI to help further their respective election-security missions. It is anticipated that ODNI and other agencies will continue to provide the public with unclassified updates regarding threats as the election grows nearer.

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