“The Biden admin has no firm plan to call out domestic disinformation in the 2024 election”

NBC News:

The Biden administration has no firm plans to alert the public about deepfakes or other false information during the 2024 election unless it is clearly coming from a foreign actor and poses a sufficiently grave threat, according to current and former officials.

Although cyber experts in and outside of government expect an onslaught of disinformation and deepfakes during this year’s election campaign, officials in the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security remain worried that if they weigh in, they will face accusations that they are attempting to tilt the election in favor of President Joe Biden’s re-election.

Lawmakers from both parties have urged the Biden administration to take a more assertive stance.

“I’m worried that you may be overly concerned with appearing partisan and that that will freeze you in terms of taking the actions that are necessary,” Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told cybersecurity and intelligence officials at a hearing last month.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked how the government would react to a deepfake video. “If this happens, who’s in charge of responding to it? Have we thought through the process of what do we do when one of these scenarios occurs?” he asked. “‘We just want you to know that video is not real.’ Who would be in charge of that?”

A senior U.S. official familiar with government deliberations said federal law enforcement agencies, particularly the FBI, are reluctant to call out disinformation with a domestic origin.

The FBI will investigate possible election law violations, the official said, but does not feel equipped to make public statements about disinformation or deepfakes generated by Americans.

“The FBI is not in the truth detection business,” the official said.

In interagency meetings about the issue, the official said, it’s clear that the Biden administration does not have a specific plan for how to deal with domestic election disinformation, whether it’s a deepfake impersonating a candidate or a false report about violence or voting locations being closed that could dissuade people from going to the polls…

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