Senators Question If the U.S. Is Ready to Fight Election Interference

( – With former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial well underway and November right around the corner, the topic of election interference is at the top of mind for the US. The rise of artificial intelligence could make this election cycle challenging. Deepfakes are easier to produce, and there are escalating concerns over misinformation and disinformation not only from those within the United States but also from foreign entities. Recently, lawmakers questioned if America was prepared enough to combat the danger.

What Did They Say?

On May 15, legislators in the Senate Intelligence Committee warned about the increasing threat of foreign election interference in the US, wondering aloud if tech companies and other US agencies were ready. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) said with “less than six months” to go before the general election, the United States needs to “do a better job” of ensuring that Americans know what’s coming.

The lawmaker said attempts by Russia and other enemies of the US would likely use “more sophisticated” and “aggressive” means to spread propaganda and disinformation than in previous elections. Warner noted his view that tech firms weren’t doing enough to address the problem and US agencies were holding back threat information from social media companies out of fear of legal action.

Warner said it didn’t seem like “leading social media companies” were interested in sustaining or increasing their “platform integrity.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he was confused about who in the federal government was responsible for addressing “deep fake[s]” or other falsehoods during election campaigns. The senator said he didn’t know “who would take the lead,” calling for a coordinated plan for how to respond.

The Beginnings

The fact is that misinformation from Russia has already begun. The country is already using fake accounts online and bots to hurt President Joe Biden’s and other Democrat’s campaigns. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan previously said on “Meet the Press” that there is “plenty of reason to be concerned” about Russian interference. He said the federal government was watching that closely.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines recently informed senators during the recent meeting that “foreign influence or interference” was a top priority for the “intelligence community.” She confirmed that Russia is the “most active foreign threat to our elections.”

However, the director said the federal government “has never been better prepared” to face the upcoming challenge.

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