Can The U.S. Combat Election Interference If Some Don’t Believe It’s Happening
America’s adversaries are circling like coyotes just beyond the light from the campfire, top intelligence officials warn — but that’s not the scariest thing to some members of the Senate intelligence committee.
What bothers them is the need to convince people the coyotes are there.
“My problem is, I talk to people in Maine who say, ‘the whole thing is a witch hunt and it’s a hoax,’ because that’s what the president told me,” said Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.
The leaders of the U.S. intelligence community gave bleak evidence on Tuesday about the ongoing threat Russia poses to Western democracies — among many other threats around the world.
King contrasted that with the frequent denials and equivocations about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by President Trump and the White House, which King said have led to a major disparity in belief around the country.
The campaign of “active measures,” as intelligence officers call them, is no longer discussed in terms of whether it happened, but, rather, amid certainty that it never stopped.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and their colleagues laid out an eye-watering picture about the extent of that campaign. Americans and people across the West, they said, should expect election interference through this year and beyond.
“This is not going to change or stop,” said National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers.
Other senators asked Coats, Pompeo, Wray and their counterparts to restate their support for the 2017 assessment that concluded Russia had attacked the previous year’s election. All of them did.