U.S. officials warn that Putin could use the Ukraine war as a pretext to interfere in American politics US politics

Vladimir Putin could use the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine as an excuse to launch a new campaign to interfere in American politics, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Intelligence agencies have not found any evidence that Putin authorized actions believed to have been taken by Russia in the 2016 and 2020 elections in support of Donald Trump, according to many people familiar with the subject who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But given Putin’s opposition to the West and his repeated denunciations of Ukraine, officials say the U.S. support for the Ukraine resistance is seen as a direct insult and could give him more incentive to target another U.S. election. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

The assessment comes with a stressed US electoral system. When Trump supporters tried to stop Joe Biden from confirming his defeat, the US public was deeply divided over the last election and the uprising in the US capital. Trump has repeatedly attacked intelligence officials and cited investigations into Russia’s influence over his campaigns as political retaliation.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow have reached unprecedented levels since the end of the Cold War. The White House has stepped up military support for Ukraine, which has fueled strong resistance against Russian forces accused of war crimes and helped impose global sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy.

There is no sign that the war will end soon, with some experts saying that Moscow could delay retaliating when its resources are trapped in Ukraine.

But David Salvo, deputy director of the German Martial Funds Alliance for Securing Democracy, said: “It is almost certain that the declining Russian military after Ukraine is going to redouble its hybrid tactics to wreak havoc on us and other allies.”

In Ukraine and in previous campaigns, Russia has been accused of trying to spread false information, using cyber-attacks to spread pro-Kremlin voices and to disrupt governments.

Top US intelligence officials are still preparing plans for a new Congress-authorized center focusing on the foreign influence campaigns of Russia, China and other rivals. Avril Hines, the US director of National Intelligence, appointed Jeffrey Wichman, a career CIA officer, to the post of election threat executive several months after the departure of former executive Shelby Pearson.

“Our election threats executive continues to lead the intelligence community’s efforts against foreign threats to the US election,” said Hines spokesman Nicole de Hay. “We continue to work to provide the legislative requirement to create a center to consolidate vigilance on foreign harmful influence.”

De Gea declined to comment on what intelligence officials think of Putin’s intentions. The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

Foreign opponents have long been looking to interfere in US politics. The U.S. has accused Putin of directing influential activities to help Trump in 2020. The bilateral Senate investigation into the 2016 election has confirmed intelligence allegations that Russia used cyber-espionage and intelligence efforts to promote Trump and humiliate his rival, Hillary Clinton.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation has found no conclusive evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, but Mueller has refused to rule on whether Trump has obstructed justice.

Trump has wrongly insisted that the election he lost to Biden was rigged, with Republicans following his leadership and opposing election security measures.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are constantly investigating foreign influence efforts. The U.S. Department of Justice last month indicted five people on behalf of China for harassing Chinese dissidents in the US and derailing an unnamed congressional candidate.

Experts say the proposed Foreign Malin Influenza Center will bring much-needed direction to efforts across the government to study rivals. In the budget passed last month, Congress partially funded the Center.

The center was delayed over questions about its structure and size in the office of the director of intelligence and in Capitol Hill and whether it would unnecessarily duplicate existing efforts. Congress last month asked the director’s office to complete a report on the center’s future structure, responsibilities and organizational appointment “within six months.

Mike Turner of Ohio, a top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the committee was “closely monitoring the malicious activities of our opponents” and that the proposed center was a way to help.

“As Russia continues to use false propaganda in Ukraine, we remind you to be strategic in our response to counter their tactics,” Turner said. “It is no secret that our opponents use false information to undermine US national security interests, so all viable options must be considered to protect our democracy.”

Leave a Comment