State Dept. announces $10 million reward for info on foreign interference in U.S. elections
By Cassie B. // Aug 09, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the State Department is offering a $10 million reward for providing the identity or location of “any person who, acting at the direction of a foreign government, interferes with U.S. elections by engaging in certain criminal cyber activities."


In remarks at a virtual event on the future of national security hosted by The Hill, Pompeo said he was confident that other countries, such as China and Russia, will try to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

“Yes, I am confident that many countries will do their level best to have an impact on our election,” he said, adding that the country is constantly dealing with foreign efforts to interfere in American elections.

The comments came in response to a question from the Editor-in-Chief of The Hill, Bob Cusack, on whether Russia is interfering with this year’s election. In 2016, Russian agents carried out a big interference campaign during the lead-up to the election.

Pompeo said that the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have been working since 2016 to ensure that those who wish to interfere understand the price they will have to pay.

“The American people should rest assured that whether it’s Chinese interference, Iranian interference, Russian interference, or North Korean interference, any country, or even non-state actors who now have capabilities to try to meddle in our elections, know that this administration takes seriously its responsibility to make sure every American’s vote is counted, counted properly, and that foreign influence is minimized,” he stated.

A few days earlier, Pompeo spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about several different topics. During the conversation, Pompeo brought up the issue of election security, although the details of the conversation have not been revealed.

There might not be a repeat of 2016, but some interference is expected

In 2016, Russian agents carried out a broad disinformation campaign on social media to help sway voters in favor of the Trump campaign. We’ve already seen evidence of a foreign adversary interfering in the 2020 elections. In February, Senator Bernie Sanders revealed that he learned from U.S. intelligence officials that Russian efforts were underway to help his campaign by spreading disinformation. At the same time, intelligence officials informed House lawmakers that Russia was once again meddling.

Evidence has also come to light that Iranian hackers were sending malicious fishing emails to Trump campaign staff, while Chinese hackers were found to be targeting emails of Biden campaign staffers.

Pompeo told the Washington Times that the entire government is looking out for attempts to influence voting, use disinformation against candidates, and disrupt voting machines via cyber-attacks. He said that they’ve also worked to ensure that should disinformation campaigns come to light. Americans will be able to recognize them for what they are. However, he did not go into detail on the measures being prepared to counter disinformation.

He added that he believes we’ve learned from what happened in 2016 and that the 2018 election wasn’t impacted by any sort of foreign influence. Nevertheless, he expressed certainty that foreign actors would try to influence the election again.

On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs said that we can expect more information to be released to the public soon about foreign election interference efforts. However, he added that what they’re seeing is not reaching the level of the Russian interference we saw ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Sources for this article include:

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