Homeland security and counterterrorism experts comment on Russian interference in U.S. elections.
Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
The Aspen Institute
202-736-2111 | Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org
Aspen, CO, July 17, 2018 –– members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts, have issued the following statement:
Statement on Ongoing Russian Election Interference
July 17, 2018
We members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group endorse the conclusions of the Intelligence Community, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Department of Justice regarding Russian interference in our elections. All of us have played significant homeland security roles post-9/11, working closely on a bipartisan basis to protect all Americans. In 2016, we issued a statement calling Russian malicious cyber activity “an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy,” and warning that we needed to treat attacks on the election process as a national security priority.
Since then, the Intelligence Community has assessed that Russian information operations, both online and offline, were aimed at influencing and manipulating democratic and electoral processes around the 2016 election.
The CIA, NSA, and FBI confirmed in January 2017 the consensus Intelligence Community view that these cyber influence operations took place.
Furthermore, details revealed in the grand jury indictments in the Russian probe, released in February 2018 and this past week, provide further evidence of Russian hacking offenses and information operations related to the 2016 election. Specifically, these indictments point unmistakably to senior Russian intelligence operatives as directing this effort.
Daniel Coats, as the current Director of National Intelligence, reaffirmed this past week his confidence in the Intelligence Community’s assessment that hacking and information manipulation took place during the 2016 election, and raised concerns about the “ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.” We commend his steadfast support for the Intelligence Community’s assessment.
Additionally, we underscore the importance of an independent, depoliticized Intelligence Community. We commend the numerous non-partisan and loyal intelligence officers who contribute to our national security and work diligently to protect our country, often without recognition.
Our consensus view is that:
- We agree that Russian influence and malicious cyber operations have threatened and continue to threaten the integrity of our political processes.
- We fully support the Intelligence Community’s assessment of Russian interference in our electoral processes.
- We urge the Intelligence Community and the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to direct substantial efforts to prevent, detect, and defend against these Russian operations. We support Congressional efforts to promote election security.
- We urge state and local electoral officials to secure election-related systems and communications for imminent and future elections, and note that state voting machinery was declared “critical infrastructure” by DHS in October 2016. Securing this infrastructure is an important responsibility of state and local officials.
- We urge social media organizations to prevent foreign manipulation of their platforms for political purposes.
- We condemn Russian meddling and urge that additional sanctions and other responses be imposed should this interference continue.
- We reject any moral equivalence between Russian subversion of democracy and US efforts to promote democratic processes.
Clark K. Ervin
Brian Michael Jenkins
Eric T. Olson
Daniel B. Prieto
Guy Swan III
Starnes E. Walker III