WASHINGTON: China, Iran and Russia are the three countries that are seeking to undermine US elections, US National Security Adviser (NSA) Robert O’Brien has alleged noting that some of them prefer Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as the next White House occupant.
“When it comes to elections and what the intelligence community has made very clear is that first you have China, which has most massive programme to influence the United States politically. You have Iran and you have Russia. These are all three adversary countries that are seeking to disrupt our elections,” O’Brien told reporters at the White House.
US presidential elections is scheduled to take place on November 3. President Donald Trump from the Republican party is seeking his second four-year term. He is being challenged by former vice president Joe Biden from the Democratic party. Biden (77), leads the national polls but Trump has been catching up fast in the last two weeks.
“Some of them prefer Biden. Some people say some of them prefer the president. My position is it doesn’t matter what these countries want, than any country that attempts to interfere with free and fair elections in the United States has to be stopped,” O’Brien said in response to a question.
“We’ve taken unprecedented action. The president has taken unprecedented–precedented action in funding the hardening of our elections infrastructure, whether it’s cyber or otherwise,” he said.
Noting that there are tremendous concerns about mail-in ballots, he said that on the news every night, there seems to be another picture of some apartment building in some city with thousands of ballots stacked up in its foyer and that sort of thing.
“So, I think there are concerns about mail-in ballots. I think those concerns are very different than being concerned about foreign adversaries trying to influence our elections. And we’ve made a red line,” he said.
“We have made it very clear to the Chinese, to the Russians, the Iranians and others that haven’t been publicly disclosed that anyone who tries to attempt to or anyone that attempts to interfere with American elections will face extraordinary consequences,” O’Brien said.
Responding to another question, the NSA said that American technology companies have been doing a good job in this regard.
“Some of our tech companies are doing a good job… whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or others, they’re trying to police things in a way they didn’t before,” he said.
“Our intelligence community is doing a good job in trying to track these things. Department of Homeland Security, with increased funding from this administration is doing a good job in a hardening our infrastructure to make sure that whether it’s the cyber infrastructure or physical infrastructure, we are not susceptible to having the choice that the American people make on election day changed by some foreign party,” he said.
There’s always going to be propaganda, he noted.
“There’s always going to be efforts to influence us. And again, we know that the Chinese have taken the most active role. But the Russians and the Iranians and other countries are involved and as well. So, we’re going to keep monitoring it and we’re going to do everything we can to protect the sanctity of our election. That’s the foundation of our democracy. That’s what makes us America, and we’re just not going to tolerate these other countries trying to get involved in our elections,” O’Brien said.