Managing and Mitigating Foreign Election Interference
President Donald Trump has repeatedly shown that he does not take the issue of Russian interference in elections seriously, most recently at the G-20 summit in Japan when he issued a “wink-wink” warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin when pressed on the issue by reporters.
This is no laughing matter. Such warnings—even when they are issued seriously—are not working. For example, in August 2018, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Russians not to meddle in the upcoming midterms. Had the warnings worked, the Russian government would not have tried to manipulate the election and the United States would not have needed to protect the integrity of the midterms from Russia. But just a few months later, U.S. Cyber Command reportedly launched offensive cyber operations against Russian targets, and while it was apparently able to block Russian troll farms on Election Day, its defensive actions suggest that multiple warnings by the United States did not dissuade Russia’s efforts to interfere. Russia has continued its efforts since, using myriad social media platforms to spread disinformation in an attempt to sway elections and call into question the stability of democracies.
Lawfare Blog, 2019