Russian internet propagandists tried to influence American voters ahead of the 2018 midterms, according to a new report compiled by the top US intelligence official.
The report doesn’t address how effective those efforts were, and it says there was no corresponding campaign that compromised the actual infrastructure of the US voting system.
The report, overseen by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and delivered to the White House on Friday, is classified and not expected to be made public. In a statement, Coats said that “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests.”
It was released in accordance with an executive order that President Donald Trump signed in September, which demands an assessment on whether anyone tried to interfere with a nationwide election 45 days after it’s held, then another assessment 45 days after that on whether such attempts were successful.
Notably, that means that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will give the White House their additional assessments of meddling attempts on Feb 4, 2019. Neither agency expects to make their reports public. And the government’s full report on the one kind of interference known to have happened in 2018 — Russian attempts to run influence campaigns on social media sites — will likely remain hidden. [Continue reading…]