DNI Ratcliffe Delays Foreign Election Interference Report Amid SolarWinds Hacking Incident, Paving Way For Use Of Trump’s 2018 EO

DNI Ratcliffe Delays Foreign Election Interference Report
Amid SolarWinds Hacking Incident, Paving Way For Use Of Trump’s
2018 EO 1

On December 16, 2020, the FBI, CISA, and ODNI released a joint statement outlining how they have recently “become aware of a significant and ongoing cybersecurity campaign” against the United States of America.

According to the statement, the agencies have formed a “Cyber Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to coordinate a whole-of-government response to this significant cyber incident.” It is noted that “this compromise has affected networks within the federal government.”

The FBI is investigating and gathering intelligence in an effort to find out who committed the cyber attack and bring the actor/s to justice.

“As the lead for threat response, the FBI is investigating and gathering intelligence in order to attribute, pursue, and disrupt the responsible threat actors. The FBI is engaging with known and suspected victims and information gained through FBI’s efforts will provide indicators to network defenders and intelligence to our government partners to enable further action.”

Gateway Pundit reported that the FBI, Texas Rangers, and US Marshals had allegedly raided SolarWinds headquarters in Austin, Texas, but this has not been confirmed, although John Basham clarified later on Twitter that “They Had A Building Full Of Agents, Rangers, & Deputy Marshals (Primarily FBI Agents).”

As the joint statement reads, the agencies issued an Emergency Directive which instructed federal civilian agencies “to immediately disconnect or power down affected SolarWinds Orion products from their network” due to exploitation from “malicious actors.”

SolarWinds Orion products (affected versions are 2019.4 through 2020.2.1 HF1) are currently being exploited by malicious actors. This tactic permits an attacker to gain access to network traffic management systems. Disconnecting affected devices, as described below in Required Action 2, is the only known mitigation measure currently available.

CISA has determined that this exploitation of SolarWinds products poses an unacceptable risk to Federal Civilian Executive Branch agencies and requires emergency action.

Dominion Voting Systems uses SolarWinds products, but has recently removed a reference link to SolarWinds from their official website. Dominion has been criticized recently for their potential role involving mass voter fraud in the 2020 US election.

On August 7, 2020, NCSC Director William Evanina issued an “Election Threat Update For The American Public,” in which he stated that China, Russia, and Iran sought to “compromise our election infrastructure for a range of possible purposes,” This included “interfering with the voting process, stealing sensitive data, or calling into question the validity of the election results.”

CHINA – We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China. Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current Administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate, and actions on other issues. 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.”

It should also be noted that members of US military intelligence, including prominent military officials like former Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, have asserted that China has been accessing Dominion servers to “manipulate elections, including the most recent US general election in 2020,” as National File reported. 

National File was able to quickly verify that Powell quoted a former member of the 305th in the lawsuit, which declared that “a former electronic intelligence analyst under the 305th Military Intelligence with experience gathering SAM missile system electronic intelligence” told her that “the Dominion software was accessed by agents acting on behalf of China and Iran” to manipulate the election.

Excerpt from Powell's Georgia lawsuit

The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told CBS news that China, Russia, and Iran have interfered in the November 2020 election.

The official report on foreign election interference has been reportedly delayed due to an intra-intelligence community dispute over “new intelligence” surrounding Chinese operations information.

If the federal government can prove that China, or any other foreign actors, successfully interfered with the election, President Donald Trump would have justification to utilize his 2018 Executive Order on foreign interference in US elections, to address the evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US election.

“I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States…”

“…In recent years, the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference, as illustrated in the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with this threat.”

These developments come as millions of Americans feel that their vote has been disenfranchised as a result of evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US election.

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