The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), not Russia, poses the biggest threat to U.S. election security leading up to voting in November, Attorney General William Barr said.
In a Sept. 2 interview on CNN, Barr was asked about election security and who is the most assertive or aggressive nation.
“I believe it’s China,” Barr said. “China more than Russia right now.”
Asked about why he made that assessment, Barr said he has “seen the intelligence” suggesting the CCP is a greater threat than Moscow. “That’s what I concluded,” he said, adding that he couldn’t elaborate more on what is classified information.
But he stressed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Russia or another foreign state actor tries to meddle in the election just as Russia and other adversaries did during the 2016 election.
“Influence, basically, is two kinds of things. It’s hack and dump. You get into someone’s mail system and then try to disclose embarrassing documents. It wouldn’t surprise me if they try something like that, or any other country tries that. The other way is social media and putting things out on social media,” Barr said.
In July, William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, found that China, Russia, and Iran are seeking to undermine the 2020 U.S. elections.
Evanina said the Chinese regime is on the top of its list, saying Beijing has escalated its influence efforts to shape U.S. policy, pressure politicians, and tamp down criticism of the CCP.
In response, the Trump administration has ramped up pressure on Beijing, including closing the Chinese consulate in Houston as well as efforts on trade, among other measures. Meanwhile, Evanina said last month that the Chinese regime would prefer that Democratic nominee Joe Biden win the 2020 election instead of President Donald Trump.
“For example, it has harshly criticized the administration’s statements and actions on Hong Kong, TikTok, the legal status of the South China Sea, and China’s efforts to dominate the 5G market. Beijing recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the presidential race,” he said.
Mirroring Barr’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the “single greatest to the United States of America from a foreign power emanates from the Chinese Communist Party. It’s not, frankly, a close call.”
“The Chinese Communist Party is building out its military, it has infiltrated the United States in ways that Russia has not, and its economic might has been used through state-owned enterprises and subsidizing companies to destroy tens of thousands of jobs all across the heartland of America,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “It’s unacceptable behavior.”