China Tried to Shape the Outcome of 2022 Midterm Elections, Intelligence Report Says

China Tried to Shape the Outcome of 2022 Midterm Elections, Intelligence Report Says


The latest report sheds more light on communist China’s long game to infiltrate U.S. politics at every level.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) attempted to meddle in the 2022 midterm elections, aiming to undermine certain candidates viewed as “anti-China” and promote others deemed “pro-China,” according to a new report from the U.S. Intelligence Community.
“China tacitly approved efforts to try to influence a handful of midterm races involving members of both U.S. political parties,” the intelligence agencies said in their assessment published on Dec. 18, emphasizing that they came to such a conclusion with “high confidence.”

The report, with substantial portions redacted, did not say which midterm races the CCP had targeted. In one case, China “covertly denigrat[ed]” an unnamed Senate candidate online using “inauthentic accounts.” The report was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

The latest report sheds more light on communist China’s long game to infiltrate U.S. politics at every level. FBI Director Christopher Wray explained in 2022 that Beijing’s desire to influence American politics rested on its quest to achieve economic and political domination.

Since 2020, senior CCP leaders issued “broad directives to intensify efforts” to influence U.S. policies and public opinion in China’s favor, according to the report.

“We assess that these directives gave PRC influence actors more freedom to operate ahead of the midterms than the presidential election in 2020, probably because PRC officials believed that Beijing was under less scrutiny during the midterms and because they did not expect the current Administration to retaliate as severely as they feared in 2020,” the report reads, referring to China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Related Stories

FBI Director Warns 'Elevated' Risk of Influence in 2024 Election
TikTok Part of CCP's 'Cognitive Warfare' Strategy Against US: Rep. Gallagher

The CCP had also repeatedly ordered its officials to focus their influence operations on Congress, convinced that the U.S. legislative branch “is a locus of anti-China activity.”

“In 2021, Beijing identified specific members of Congress to punish for anti-China views and to reward for their perceived support for China,” according to the report.

The CCP influence operations were designed to “portray the U.S. democratic model as chaotic, ineffective, and unrepresentative,” frequently directing its messaging to “highlight U.S. division on social issues, such as abortion and gun control,” the report says.

In September, Microsoft released a report revealing that China-based hackers had impersonated American voters online online during the 2022 midterm elections. They used artificial intelligence to create divisive content along racial, economic, and ideological lines.
Meta, in its third-quarter report on adversarial threats, announced that it had removed 4,789 fake Facebook accounts that were part of a China-based influence operation network. People behind these accounts posed as Americans and posted in English about U.S. politics and U.S.–China relations. So far this year, the media giant said it had taken down five networks of fake accounts in China, more than from any other country.

Foreign Actors

The DNI report also says China did not order a “comprehensive campaign” to influence the midterm races in favor of a political party, wary of the risks if its efforts were exposed.

Nonetheless, the  intelligence agencies discovered that Chinese cyber actors had “scanned more than 100 U.S. state and national political party domains.”

The report names the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, noticing how English-language messaging efforts on the app “had increased focus on U.S. politicians and U.S. domestic issues” around August last year. These issues included abortion, mass shootings, and immigration.

Mr. Wray and DNI Director Avril Haines have warned about the risks posed by TikTok, which is owned by China-based parent company ByteDance. In December last year, Ms. Haines said parents should be concerned about their children using the app, saying the CCP is “extraordinary” in collecting “foreign data.”

The report also looked into efforts by Russia, Iran, and Cuba to meddle in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.

Russia and its proxies tried to “denigrate” the Democratic Party largely because of its support for Ukraine.

“Moscow incorporated themes designed to weaken U.S. support for Ukraine into its propaganda, highlighting how election influence operations are a subset of broader influence activity,” the report says.

Tehran’s activities reflected its intention to “fuel distrust in U.S. political institutions, increase social tension, and advocate for candidates and policy positions that are aligned with Tehran’s foreign policy interests.”

“We assess that most foreign actors now appear largely focused on amplifying authentic U.S. public narratives to try to influence electoral outcomes, increase mistrust in U.S. election processes, and stoke sociopolitical divisions,” the report reads.

“This approach provides deniability as foreign actors propagate U.S. content to try to exploit existing fissures.”

#China #Shape #Outcome #Midterm #Elections #Intelligence #Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *