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Lankford Sounds Alarm Over China’s Attempts to Influence American Elections

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on Rumble.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing entitled, “An Update on Foreign Threats to the 2024 Elections,” with the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Jen Easterly, and Executive Assistant Director for the National Security Branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Larissa Knapp. During the hearing, Lankford raised concerns over China’s influence in elections.


Lankford: What is China doing currently to try to influence United States public opinion?

HainesI’ll just I’ll mention what they’re doing here, but also what they’re doing abroad, because we’re seeing it on a broad range of things. I think they’re growing, we assess, really increasingly confident in their ability to influence elections, but remain concerned about the possibility of blowback should they be discovered. And the PRC has made improvements to its influence operation tools, using Artificial Intelligence, big data analytics, their tactics globally include bankrolling candidates they prefer, using deepfake technologies to generate content, collecting polling data to determine targets for them., conducting social media influence operations. For example, the PLA will take over, and operate social media accounts on a number of different platforms.

We look to disclose that and tell companies about that when it happens to promote disinformation across the board, and they also target their diasporas. And we’ve seen them obviously seek to influence elections not only in the United States in the context of congressional candidates generally. This has been one of the things in different levels in spaces, but also elections in Taiwan, in Australia, and in Canada. So a pretty, significant portion.

LankfordHow do we expose that? How do we put the word out? Attributions, the challenges we’ve already talked about already once it starts to get out there on social media in other places, how is that exposed most effectively if it’s discovered on the federal side?

Haines: … I mean, we obviously put in our annual threat assessment some of the things that we’re seeing, the PRC engage in, in terms of influence operations, including in these spaces. And when we get intelligence that indicates that the PRC is, for example, taking on, social media accounts or things like that in a platform, we then pass that information through, the FBI is able to provide that to the companies to take action. 

LankfordA general statement if they’re going to do it is different than an example to say, here’s an example of a post that we know was created by or was amplified by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, whatever it may be, 2016 and 2017, we’re able to pull exact examples in to be able to list them, post them, and say, this was Russian created. Here’s where it started, here’s where it came from, and to be able to expose it. How do we do that now, as we’re approaching this election and foreign actors are trying to influence?

Haines: We will do just that. So essentially the same playbook in that sense that we are identifying specific, credible intelligence. We are passing that to the companies or exposing it publicly as the case may determine.