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FBI warns of efforts by China, Russia, Iran to influence election

China, Russia and Iran are among the foreign adversaries ramping up their efforts to influence the 2024 election with campaigns being aided by artificial intelligence, the FBI warned Thursday.

“Election threats are more diverse and expansive than ever,” a senior FBI official said on a call with reporters.

And while each adversary has their own approach with different nuances and prerogatives, “sowing discord and undermining democracy is consistent across the board,” the official added.

China in particular is expanding their influence efforts by creating fake social media accounts to “push narratives and sow divisiveness,” mirroring efforts deployed by Russia in prior elections.

The bureau said artificial intelligence tools are an undercurrent of many of the operations.

“It doesn’t just kind of lower the barrier of entry for people to do work in this space or create fake content,” the official said.

“It also really increases the ability for our sophisticated nation state actors to scale their operations and really build them out larger than we’ve seen previously.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted in its annual threat assessment released in February that Chinese government efforts are based on a “desire to sideline critics of China and magnify U.S. societal divisions.”

“Beijing’s growing efforts to actively exploit perceived U.S. societal divisions using its online personas move it closer to Moscow’s playbook for influence operations,” the report stated.

The bureau has also previously warned of China’s hacking prowess, noting the U.S. is far outnumbered in the number of personnel dedicated to looking for ways to gain access to different systems, including various forms of infrastructure.

But officials on Thursday largely focused on Russian efforts to access U.S. election-related systems such as state and local networks and voter registration data.

“Russia can use their access to those government networks to undermine confidence in the U.S. election integrity and bolster influence operations,” the official said.

Other top concerns ahead of the election include the mounting threats made to election workers across the country.

A survey from the Brennan Center for Justice released earlier this month found 38 percent of election officials said they have received threats while more than half expressed concern for the safety of their colleagues.

Source: The Hill

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