Foreign Actors Targeted 2022 US Elections, Intelligence Community Reveals

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The US intelligence community has confirmed it detected evidence of foreign interference during the 2022 US federal elections.

Russia, China and Iran were among the estimated countries of origins for these operations.

In a series of declassified reports released on December 11, 2023, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) found evidence of information operations from foreign actors trying to influence US voters’ opinions.

First, the US intelligence community assessed with high confidence that China tacitly approved efforts to try to influence some midterm races involving members of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Second, the ODNI report stated with moderate confidence that some Iranian intelligence services and Iranian online influencers conducted covert influence operations to undermine confidence in US democratic institutions during the election cycle.

Third, the Russian government and some of its proxies underwent a defaming campaign against the Democratic party before the midterm election, ODNI said. The report added that their objectives were to “undermine confidence in the election, most likely to undermine US support for Ukraine.”

Finally, ODNI noticed other actors, probably of minor importance, seeking to undermine US politicians seeking re-election. This assessment was also addressed in a separate report published by ODNI.

No Evidence of Elections Hacks in 2022

While manipulation campaigns seemed to have been in full swing around the 2022 US federal elections, the US intelligence community could not find any evidence of any hacking or malicious cyber activity affecting the election process, as was the case in 2016.

This means that no cybercriminal or nation-state threat groups materially affected the integrity of voter data, the ability to vote, the tabulation of votes, or the timely transmission of election results.

“We did detect some cyber activity […] including from pro-Russian hacktivists and suspected People’s Republic of China (PRC) actors,” CISA said.

“However, we have no evidence that any detected activity prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information or any ballots cast during 2022 federal elections.”

The US intelligence community also detected multiple instances of unknown cyber actors and cybercriminals targeting, and sometimes compromising, US state and local government networks around that time, but these were not targeting election infrastructure.

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