FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned that Russia is continuing its attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, saying it is a “malign foreign influence” that poses a “significant counterintelligence threat” to the United States.
In an April 26 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Wray warned that Russian operations under the direction of President Vladimir Putin are likely to intensify during the 2020 presidential campaign.
“We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” Wray said. “I do think that Russia poses a very significant counterintelligence threat, certainly in the cyber arena, certainly what we call the malign foreign influence territory, certainly in their presence of intelligence officers in this country.”
Wray described how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. intelligence agencies created task forces to coordinate their efforts to confront interference in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections — a move that followed Russia’s attempts to manipulate U.S. public opinion during the 2016 presidential race. “We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” Wray said.
Wray also said that countries like China, Iran, and North Korea have attempted “foreign influence” in the United States.
He said those countries have been “watching and taking note of what the Russians attempted to do in 2016 and since.” “I think we expect that this is going to become a phenomenon we’re going to have to contend with, with a lot more than just Russia,” he said. (RFERL)