The Role of Fear in U.S. Elections
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although there are still several months to go before the U.S. vote is held for the 2020 presidential election, scheduled for November 2020, the U.S. media has been noting concerns about the vulnerability of the event to foreign interference.
The initial factor in the escalation of fear appears to have been the release of a joint statement issued by key members of the Trump administration last November, authored by Attorney General Bill Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Agency Director General Paul Nakasone, and Director of the Infrastructure Security and Cybersecurity Agency Christopher Krebs.
This document states that foreign interference in the voting for the 2020-2024 presidential election is imminent although it admits that there is no evidence for such a claim.
“Our opponents want to undermine our democratic institutions, influence public sentiment, and affect our government policies with Russia, China, Iran, and other malicious foreign actors who will try to interfere with the voting process or influence voters’ perceptions.
“Opponents may seek to achieve their objectives through a variety of means, including social media campaigns, directing disinformation operations, or carrying out disruptive or destructive cyber attacks against state and local infrastructure.
“While we have no evidence at this time that the electoral infrastructure has been compromised or altered to allow opponents to prevent voting, alter the vote count, or alter the ability to count votes, we continue to closely monitor any threats to the U.S. election,” the statement said.
Despite the key caveat that there was no evidence at the time the document was issued, many media reports such as BuzzFeed, ABC News and Newsweek used the statement to claim that foreign interference in 2020 was imminent.
In addition to reports that have confirmed the involvement of state actors – Russia, Iran and China – and despite the lack of evidence, other media have claimed that this supposedly imminent interference will inevitably be successful. This is, in large part, due to claims that the tactics used will be based largely on technologies that the US does not have the capacity to successfully counteract.
CSO Online, an online media outlet that provides news, analysis and research on security and risk management, recently warned that “fixing the United States’ voting and election infrastructure problems is a long-term proposition that will not be solved in time for the November election.
Meanwhile, the New York Times warned of the impending chaos. It said that “stealthy” and malevolent foreign actors had already laid the foundation for “an ugly campaign season marred by hacking and misinformation. The US monthly magazine Wired and its news website of the same name claimed last year that the security of the US elections “continues to hurt on all levels”.
The target is the mind of the American people,” says Joshua Geltzer, former director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council. “In some ways, we are less vulnerable than we were in 2016. In other ways, more. Almost all experts agree on this: The worst-case scenario – for which we must prepare – is a situation that causes Americans to question the very foundations of our democracy – “with free and fair elections.
Long before this kind of rhetoric reached the U.S. media, the Israeli intelligence-linked technology company Cybereason said in a statement on its Web site that “messing with the voter’s mind” would have a greater impact than changing the total vote, even before the 2016 election.
That statement, released by Cybereason before the last presidential election, was written by the company’s CEO, Lior Div, who was then leading offensive hacking operations against nation-states for Israeli military intelligence.
Everything indicates that a great electoral fraud is being prepared for next November’s elections and that the scene is being set for the identification of the “culprits” of an alleged “foreign interference” to cover up the simulation.
February 3rd, 2020.