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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2018

National Security Agency, Cybercom defend against election meddling

DOD News, Defense Media Activity

Russia and other malign actors continue to try to subvert American elections, and the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community are working together to prevent foreign interference in the mid-term elections, officials said at the White House Aug. 2.

Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the director of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, said his organization will work with other agencies to combat this cyber interference.

“I believe our mandate is clear: as part of its mission to defend the United States, the Department of Defense is providing intelligence, information support and technical expertise to the Department of Homeland Security for use by state and local officials to prevent foreign interference in our elections,” the general said. “This is a vital mission for us and our nation.”

DOD is also providing intelligence and information leads to the FBI on foreign adversaries “who are attempting to sow discord and division within the American public,” Nakasone said.

The department also is sharing this information with the appropriate organizations to alert them of these malign actors.

The announcement follows Facebook discovering and disabling a fake social media campaign aimed at exacerbating already contentious social issues. The social media company took down a number of fake social media accounts.

“U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency are tracking a wide range of foreign cyber adversaries, and are prepared to conduct operations against those actors attempting to undermine our nation’s mid-term elections,” Nakasone said.

The general said the operations are sensitive, and he would not describe them. He did say U.S. forces are “trained, ready and very capable.”

“I have complete confidence in the forces under my command,” he added. “We will work in conjunction with other elements of our government to make sure we bring the full power of our nation to bear on any foreign power that attempts to interfere with our democratic processes.”