US elections 2021: Russia meddled, Iran did too, China sat it out
Washington, Mar 17: Russia had sought to influence the 2020 elections by denigrating Joe Biden with misleading and unsubstantiated allegations, pushed through people close to Donald Trump, a declassified report by the US Intelligence Community said.
According to news reports, Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of former president Donald Trump may have been among the people. He had contacts with Russian agents during the time he made an attempt to implicate Joe Biden in an unproven corruption scandal involving his son Hunter Biden.
The report also says that the Russian operation was supportive of Trump, but unlike in 2016, we did not see a persistent Russian cyber effort to gain access to the election infrastructure.
Iran too conducted a multi pronged covert influence campaign intended at undercutting then president Trump. However it did not seek to directly promote his rivals, the report also added.
China however sat it out and did not deploy influence efforts because it did not view the election outcome being advantageous enough for it to risk getting caught meddling. "We assess that President Putin and the Russian state authorised and conducted influence operations against the 2020 US president election aimed at denigrating President Biden and the Democratic Party, supporting former president Trump, undermining public confidence in the election process, and exacerbating sociopolitical division in the US, the report said.
The Russian influence operation was built around a central narrative, which began taking shape in 2014.
It was basically an attempt to allege corrupt ties between Biden and his family with Ukraine. The Russians intelligence banked on Ukrainian proxies to build this function, giving themselves room for deniability, the report also said.