The leaders of Russia and Iran last year ordered their governments to attempt to influence U.S. voters’ choices in the presidential election and undermine the public’s faith in American democracy, a U.S. intelligence assessment released Tuesday said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a range of intelligence operations intended to hurt Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and support President Trump’s re-election, while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a digital scheme to undercut Mr. Trump’s re-election bid, the declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.
China didn’t undertake an effort to influence voters, considering but ultimately forgoing one because neither candidate appeared sufficiently favorable to Beijing to risk its being caught by the U.S., the report said. The report also found that Cuba, Venezuela and the militant group Hezbollah took some steps to influence the election as well, though it described those as generally smaller in scale to Russia’s and Iran’s meddling.
The report released Tuesday said intelligence agencies had high confidence in their findings, though it specifically doesn’t include any assessment of how much the alleged foreign meddling affected the election.