The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned the public Tuesday that foreign actors might spread disinformation about the results of the 2020 election and encouraged voters to be patient with delayed results.”
The increased use of mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 protocols could leave officials with incomplete results on election night,” the agencies said in a statement, highlighting the possibility that “foreign actors and cybercriminals” could use disinformation to “exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results.
“The warning follows news of a CIA assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top aides “are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations” aimed at interfering in the 2020 election, according to a Washington Post report published Tuesday. President Donald Trump and several top Republican allies have recently sought to cast China as the greatest threat to the election, even as evidence continues to emerge suggesting Russia is already interfering, as FBI Director Christopher Wray explicitly told House lawmakers last week.
The statement released Tuesday advised Americans to get information from “trustworthy sources” like official government election websites. The warning also said that Americans, when dealing with reports of problems with voting or results, should “verify though multiple reliable sources” and think twice before sharing unverified material on social media.