Published: Fri, September 18, 2020

FBI's Wray: Russia using 'drumbeat of misinformation' to undermine Biden campaign

FBI's Wray: Russia using 'drumbeat of misinformation' to undermine Biden campaign

Washington, District of Columbia: US Representative Val Demings (C) questions FBI Director Christopher Wray (R) and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about "Worldwide threats to the Homeland" on Capitol Hill on September 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.

"The intelligence community's consensus is that Russian Federation continues to try to influence our elections primarily through what we would call malign foreign influence", Wray said, "as opposed to what we saw in 2016 where there was also an effort to target election infrastructure - you know, cyber-target".

While four years of similarly flavored conspiracy theories blaming Russia for Donald Trump's 2016 win have come up empty-handed, the paucity of real-world evidence for "Russian meddling" has not stopped Wray and other United States intel officials from hyping it up as a major threat to the integrity of the democratic process. Separately, some evidence has already emerged about Moscow's efforts, including Facebook's announcement earlier this month that a troll group that was part of Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election is trying to target Americans again.

Unlike their activities during the 2016 presidential election, the Russians do not seem to be using their cyber capabilities to target the USA election infrastructure, according to Wray.

"This is consistent with Moscow's public criticism of him when he was vice president for his role in the Obama Administration's policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russian Federation", a top US intelligence official said.

While the intelligence community has said the China and Iran prefer Trump to lose, officials have yet to offer any indication or date that either country is taking steps the same way as Moscow. "Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television".

The FBI doesn't see politics in that way, he said.

Biden is Trump's Democratic opponent in the upcoming election. "China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action".

Last week, the President suggested in a tweet that China is interfering in the 2020 election and attempting to hurt his chances at a second-term by promoting race protests. "They say, you know, I am Antifa".

U.S. intelligence officials and the Senate Intelligence Committee have made bolder assertions warning of the threat Russian Federation poses this year after it hacked the Democrats in 2016 and ran social media influence operations during the 2016 and 2018 elections. "It's not a group or an organization", he said. "Antifa is a real thing", he said.

Democratic members expressed disappointment that Wolf was not in attendance, while Republican members defended him and the department, accusing Democrats of conducting political theater.

During his testimony before Congress, Wray also broke with the Trump administration's viewpoint on the subject of Antifa, insisting the often-violent leftist group was "more of an ideology than an organization". Indeed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is "actively investigating the potential for violence" from such individuals who have coalesced into "regional nodes" associated with antifa, he said.

And at the end of August in Portland, an activist aligned with the leftist Antifa movement shot dead a supporter of a far-right Patriot Prayer group during a protest.

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