Russia greatest threat to U.S. election, has 'best tools, capabilities and intent': U.S. official

Russia greatest threat to U.S. election, has ‘best tools, capabilities and intent’: U.S. official

Russia continues to pose the greatest threat to next week’s U.S. elections, a top official in the U.S. intelligence community said Thursday.

William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, reasoned the Russian government is most ready and able to interfere in the U.S. electoral process.

“I think that I have been very clear about this, as a counterintelligence official here in the U.S. that, from an election perspective, Russia poses the greatest threat,” Mr. Evanina said during an appearance on PBS’ “NewsHour.”

Mr. Evanina explained Russia has “the best tools, capabilities and intent” compared to other countries inclined to interfere in next week’s U.S. elections.

“But I will also say, putting my counterintelligence hat on, the Chinese Communist Party poses the greatest national security risk to our nation,” he said.

Five days before voting ends, Mr. Evanina’s latest remarks about the risk posed by Russia follows earlier warnings made in recent months by himself and other members of the intelligence community.

Mr. Evanina, a top adviser to President Trump’s director of national intelligence, announced in early August that Russia was assessed to be actively interfering in the U.S. presidential election.

At the time, Mr. Evanina said the intelligence community assessed Russia is using a range of measures to denigrate Mr. Trump’s opponent in the race, Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden.

More recently, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said last week that Russian and Iranian actors had obtained U.S. voter information and were taking “specific actions” to interfere.

“The ultimate goal of Russia and Iran is to sow discord and to be able to destabilize our democracy,” Mr. Evanina told PBS. “Both those regimes, their biggest kryptonite is democracy. So, anything they can do in any manner to destabilize the democracy and continue to sow discord and drive wedges in our society is their ultimate goal.”

Mr. Evanina, a career intelligence official, has led the NCSC since 2014. Mr. Trump formally nominated him in 2018 to hold on to that role, and he was confirmed by the Senate that May.

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