US will hit back at foreign meddlers in 2020 election, top spy chief says

One of the top US spy chiefs has vowed that the US would retaliate when foreign nations attempted to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, amid rising concerns about Russian hacking.

Speaking to a virtual event hosted by the Association of the US Army on Monday, Gen. Paul Nakasone, National Security Agency director and US Cyber Command head, pledged, “We’re going to act when we see adversaries attempting to interfere in our elections.”

The remarks come amid accusations from the US, UK and Canada of Russian-backed hackers trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

Russia has denied the allegations.

Nakasone assured event attendees that the 2018 US midterm elections had left the NSA’s capabilities “battle-tested” to protect against foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election.

“We are going to know our adversaries better than they know themselves,” he added.

That same day, top congressional Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting that all of Congress be briefed “regarding foreign efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

United States Army General Paul M. Nakasone
Army Gen. Paul M. NakasoneRon Sachs – CNP

“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” the letter reads.

The letter was also signed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.).

Likewise, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden released a statement Monday denouncing Russian interference in US elections.

“I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice. If elected president, I will treat foreign interference in our election as an adversarial act that significantly affects the relationship between the United States and the interfering nation’s government,” he said.

The former vice president went on to say he would “direct the US intelligence community to report publicly and in a timely manner on any efforts by foreign governments that have interfered, or attempted to interfere, with US elections.”


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