Monday, January 29, 2024 by Arsenio Toledo
A newly released report from intelligence agencies has found that China tried to influence specific races in the 2022 midterm elections, reflecting Beijing’s increasingly aggressive approach to try to influence the politics of the United States.
The intelligence assessment, recently declassified by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), found that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “tacitly approved efforts to try to influence a handful of midterm races involving members of both U.S. political parties.” (Related: Election systems expert demonstrates how easy it is to HACK voting machine USING ONLY A PEN.)
The report noted that Beijing likely saw its election interference efforts in the U.S. as a response “to what they believe is an intensified U.S. effort to promote democracy at China’s expense.”
These election meddling operations reportedly began in 2020, when senior CCP leaders gave orders to intensify efforts to influence U.S. policy and public opinion.
“We assess that these directives gave PRC [People’s Republic of China] influence actors more freedom to operate ahead of the midterms than the presidential election in 2020, probably because PRC officials believed that Beijing was under less scrutiny during the midterms and because they did not expect the current Administration to retaliate as severely as they feared in 2020,” reads the report. This admission – that Beijing feared the administration of former President Donald Trump more than the current reign of President Joe Biden – has caused an uproar.
“Communist China has shown time and time again that they will stop at nothing to interfere in America’s elections,” said Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin, a noted China hawk who warned that the regime will likely continue its efforts to interfere in U.S. elections until Biden shows his willingness to stand up to the communists. “The Biden administration needs to take a harder line on PRC meddling and espionage.”
This report comes as officials and cybersecurity experts warn of the possibility that multiple nations, including China, will seek to engage in more sophisticated influence efforts ahead of the presidential election in November.
The CCP’s main goal was to prevent the election or re-election of certain candidates deemed to be “anti-China” and to uplift the candidacies of others whom Beijing believed would be more friendly to the communist nation. The ODNI report also noted that China saw an opportunity to influence American politics by pointing to divisive issues, including abortion and gun control.
“We assess that most foreign actors now appear largely focused on amplifying authentic U.S. public narratives to try to influence electoral outcomes, increase mistrust in U.S. election processes, and stoke sociopolitical divisions,” said the ODNI report. “This approach provides deniability as foreign actors propagate U.S. content to try to exploit existing fissures.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. claimed that the contents of ODNI’s report are “groundless and fabricated.”
“China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and has no interest in interfering in the internal affairs and elections of the U.S.,” said the spokesperson. “The relevant accusations are purely groundless and fabricated out of thin air.”
The report also noted that Russia and Iran undertook efforts to influence the 2022 midterm elections. The Kremlin attempted to undermine the Democratic Party to undercut political support for Ukraine and reduce the effect of U.S. military aid shipments to the country.
Iran’s influence operation mirrored those of the CCP on a much smaller scale, with activities focused on trying to “exploit perceived social divisions and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.”
Watch this clip from “China in Focus” as host Tiffany Meier discusses the report revealing that the CCP interfered in the U.S. midterms.
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