Intel Indicates Ongoing Russian Efforts to Interfere in 2022 Elections (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 13 August 2021 12:46 PM
Intelligence reports indicate Russia is continuing its attempts to interfere in U.S. elections, CNN is reporting.
According to the news network, the Biden administration is receiving reports showing that Russian attempts to meddle in the elections have never stopped — despite warnings from President Joe Biden.
CNN said one source confirmed that recent intelligence reports reveal Russia’s efforts to spread disinformation on social media and weaponize U.S. media outlets for propaganda purposes.
And there are indications that Moscow is also attempting to capitalize on the sometimes bitter debate over vaccines and masking in the U.S.
"There's definitely a spike in activity around elections — they do take an interest in down-ballot races — but the activity is sustained," said Emily Harding, the former deputy staff director for the Senate Intelligence Committee. "It never really stopped, and we should not be linking our attention or efforts to the election cycle, because they're not.”
And sources say the Russian efforts are more sophisticated than their earlier attempts in 2016.
Biden had warned last month that Russia was attempting to use disinformation to interfere in the 2022 elections.
Bloomberg News reported that Biden made his comments in a speech at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Virginia.
Russia’s efforts are "a clear violation of our sovereignty," Biden said.
At the time, he cited it as an example of the information he gained from his daily intelligence briefing earlier in the day.
CNN noted that in April the Treasury Department had sanctioned 32 Russian groups and individuals for what the U.S. intelligence officials say was a scheme to influence the 2020 presidential election by spreading false information about Biden during his campaign for president.
Biden, during his June summit with Vladimir Putin, had warned the Russian president to stop his nation’s ransomware attacks and interference in U.S. politics.
But Bill Evanina, the former senior intelligence official who was in charge of briefing the presidential candidates on threats to the 2020 election, predicted the Russians would ignore the Biden warning.
"I don't think anyone in the Biden administration or Congress believes that Putin will change any of his behaviors because we asked him to," he said.
And a National Security Council spokesman told CNN "Securing our elections is fundamental to our democracy. We constantly monitor for threats, including foreign efforts to influence or interfere in our democratic processes, and work closely with state and local election officials to protect our elections."
Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. elections.