A person casting a voting ballot
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‘No evidence’ of foreign election interference in 2022 US midterms, spy agencies say

Both Russia and China attempted to influence the 2022 U.S. midterms but did not successfully hack into the country’s election infrastructure or otherwise disrupt voting, the U.S. intelligence community said on Monday.

“We have no evidence that any detected activity prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information or any ballots cast during 2022 federal elections,” the declassified report said.

However, the heavily redacted assessment, which was written last December, provides few concrete examples of Moscow and Beijing actively trying to achieve specific outcomes.

Instead, the postmortem offers a general overview of the unsophisticated efforts that have become increasingly common during election cycles since the Kremlin’s multi-faceted assault on the 2016 presidential race, such as covertly employing social media and other means to inflame divisive narratives.

While influence efforts have grown since the 2018 midterms, officials “did not observe a directive from any foreign leader to undertake a comprehensive, whole-of-government influence campaign” such as the one in 2016.

The report, along with a separate examination issued by the Justice and Homeland Security departments that found no evidence of voting systems being compromised by hackers, comes as national security leaders and policymakers have sounded the alarm about potential foreign interference in the 2024 presidential contest.

Last year U.S. Cyber Command Army Gen. Paul Nakasone said the digital warfighting organization carried out offensive operations to stop foreign nations from meddling in last year’s midterms — the third consecutive campaign cycle where the nation’s election had to be defended.

The document said that Russia’s “influence actors disproportionately targeted the Democratic Party, probably because Moscow blames the U.S. president for forging a unified Western alliance and for Kyiv’s continued pro-Western trajectory.”

The clandestine community also found that state-sponsored Chinese hackers scanned “more than 100 U.S. state and national political party domains.”

The U.S. also called out Iran and Cuba for their attempts to cause upheaval during the midterms.

Tehran, which the U.S. government took steps against for launching low-level digital attacks during the 2020 presidential election, worked to exploit “social divisions and undermine confidence in U.S. democratic institutions.” Havana, meanwhile, sought to undercut candidates of both major political parties in various races in Florida.

The report concluded that foreign governments “probably will weigh the results of their previous influence efforts, current national security concerns, and the availability of candidates they perceive as friendly or detrimental to their interests as they develop approaches to influencing U.S. elections in 2024.”

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.