White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that the U.S. is countering Russian and Chinese efforts to tamper with the country’s election infrastructure.
O’Brien told CBS “Face The Nation” that Russia and China are “absolutely” interfering with U.S. election infrastructure ahead of November.
He told CBS’s Margaret Brennan that both countries have tried “to access secretary of state websites” and “collect data on Americans” and “engage in influence operations whether it’s on TikTok or Twitter or other spaces.”
“It’s a real concern,” he said. “But it’s not just Russia, Margaret, it’s the Chinese don’t want the president reelected.”
“China, like Russia and Iran, have engaged in cyber attacks and fishing and that sort of thing with respect to our election infrastructure and with respect to websites,” he said.
NEWS: Following latest @ODNIgov warnings of #electioninterference, National Security Adviser @robertcobrien tells @margbrennan #China and #Russia are “absolutely” “trying to access secretary of state websites,” and other critical election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election pic.twitter.com/xEn7QMGPa9
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 9, 2020
William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, on Friday announced China, Russia and Iran are seeking to “sway voters’ preferences and perspectives,” sow discord and “undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process.”
He said China doesn’t want Trump to win reelection because it views him as “unpredictable,” while Russia is working to hurt presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says Trump executive order is ‘a reckless war on Social Security’ Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections MORE.
O’Brien said Sunday that U.S. officials are “aware of” the attacks and are “taking steps to counter it.”
“Whether it’s China, Russia or Iran, we’re not gonna put up with it,” he said. “And there will be severe consequences for any country that attempts to interfere with our free and fair elections.”
Lawmaker concerns are mounting over the 2020 election as it approaches, after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election. Russian 2016 efforts included hacks that targeted infrastructure in all 50 states and the Democratic National Committee.