Published: Sun, July 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

DOJ plans to alert public to foreign operations targeting US democracy

DOJ plans to alert public to foreign operations targeting US democracy

The report, which was part of an effort set up by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February, focuses on the different types of cyberthreats and what the Justice Department and intelligence agencies are doing to counter these efforts, along with what it could be doing better.

He called attempts to interfere in the presidential elections of 2016 in the USA one of many examples of hostile activities in cyberspace, comparing them with "only one tree in the growing forest", reports DW.

His remarks came as the administration of President Donald Trump seems anything but unified on the issue of Russian Federation and election meddling.

The Justice Department will clampdown on agents who are progressing to facilitate foreign schedules in the US Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general said as he signaled of an increasing Russian threat to the United States. The report identifies five categories of malicious influence operations, including hacking attacks on election infrastructure; covert and overt operations to harm or assist political organizations; and activities to manipulate public opinion or sow divisions.

Influence operations undertaken by foreign governments "are a form of information warfare", Rosenstein said in a speech at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "Focusing merely on a single election misses the point".

The Justice Department plans to alert the public to foreign operations targeting USA democracy under a new policy created to counter hacking and disinformation campaigns such as the one Russian Federation undertook in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.

USA intelligence agencies say Russian Federation used hacking and disinformation to try to tilt the election in Trump's favor. "The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda". The report notes that since Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Attorney's offices are spread out across the nation, officials can notify individuals and companies, including technology companies, with somewhat ease. "As Director Coats made clear, these actions are persistent, they are pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America's democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not, ' " Rosenstein said.

"Russia's intelligence services conducted cyber operations against both major U.S. political parties in 2016, and the recent indictment of Russian intelligence officers alleges a systematic effort to leak stolen campaign information", Rosenstein said.

The announcement of the report came amid reports that several top cybersecurity officials within the bureau had resigned.

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