Russia — as well as other foreign countries, including China and Iran — conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns during the 2018 midterm elections, according to the U.S. intelligence community.
The director of national intelligence, per executive order, submitted a report on foreign interference in the elections to the president, appropriate departments and agencies, a Dec. 21 release states.
“At this time, the Intelligence Community does not have intelligence reporting that indicates any compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes,” the release noted. “The activity we did see was consistent with what we shared in the weeks leading up to the election."
The release made clear that the intelligence community did not make an assessment of the impact that these activities had on the outcome of the 2018 election.
In the run up to the election, officials made clear that nations such as Russia continued activity to influence the American electorate. James Mattis, the outgoing secretary of defense, asserted in late November that Russia tried to “muck around” in the midterm elections.
Some members of Congress believe that such influence campaigns will continue and be more widespread in the future.
“Now that the Russian playbook is out in the open, we’re going to see more and more adversaries trying to take advantage of the openness of our society to sow division and attempt to manipulate Americans,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement following the delivery of the report.
“Congress has to step up and enact some much-needed guardrails on social media, and companies need to work with us so that we can update our laws to better protect against attacks on our democracy.”