The US is bracing for complex, rapidly evolving threats to this year’s elections, FBI director warns

(Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press)

The US is bracing for complex, rapidly evolving threats to this year’s elections, FBI director warns

Election 2024


February 29, 2024

The United States expects to face rapidly evolving threats to its elections this year as artificial intelligence and other technological advances have made interference and meddling easier than before, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday.

The US has faced threats from foreign malign influence in the past, Wray told a national security conference. But this election cycle, the US will face more adversaries, moving at a faster pace and enabled by new technology.

Wray cited advances in generative AI, which he said has made it easier for both more and less sophisticated foreign adversaries to exert malign influence.

The comments underscored the U.S. government’s escalating concerns about sometimes difficult-to-detect influence operations designed to shape public opinion. While officials have not cited successful efforts by foreign governments to directly change election results, they have sounded the alarm about foreign influence campaigns over the past decade.

Wray suggested that the FBI share information this year about the threats it sees.

As intelligence professionals, we must highlight threats in specific, evidence-based ways so that our partners and especially the public can be usefully armed against the types of foreign influence operations they are likely to face, he said.

In 2016, Russian agents tried to boost Republican Donald Trump’s election chances by stealing and leaking Democratic emails and using a covert but powerful social media campaign to sow discord among American voters.

In 2020, U.S. intelligence officials have said, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to denigrate Democrat Joe Biden and help Trump in that year’s election. China considered but did not deploy influence operations, while aggressive efforts by Iran sought to exploit vulnerabilities on state election websites

as Tehran sought

to hurt Trump’s re-election chances, officials say.

Despite these threats, intelligence officials said there was ultimately no evidence that any foreign entity changed the vote or otherwise disrupted the voting process.

In some cases, emerging technology is being used closer to home.

For example, a political consultant confirmed this week that he had paid a New Orleans street magician to create a robocall that mimicked Biden’s voice, though the consultant said he was trying to send a wake-up call about the possible malicious use of artificial intelligence. has no influence on the outcome of the New Hampshire primary elections in recent months.

The possible specter of renewed foreign interference resurfaced this month when the Justice Department charged an FBI informant with making false allegations about alleged corruption in the Biden family.


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