NSA Director Is Going “Full Bore” To Protect Election From Interference

(FiveNation.com)- The director of the National Security Agency said this week that he is very concerned about security during the upcoming midterm elections, and he and his office are going to do everything they can to counter potential interference.

Earlier this week, General Paul Nakasone, who is head of the NSA and also the Cyber Command, told Bloomberg:

“We are going to be full-bore against foreign interference and influence in our elections. … We bring our best people to do three things in terms of securing elections. We generate insight, to understand what your adversaries are doing; we share that information and indications of what’s happening outside the United States with a series of partners; and we take action when authorized.”

Nakasone’s focus with the NSA and Cyber Command is on election interference that would come from outside the U.S. — say, from China, Russia, Iran or any other country that might be looking to influence the crucial midterms in one way or another.

While speaking at cybersecurity conference held at Fordham University in New York on Tuesday, the general said Cyber Command has executed 50 operations in 16 countries that he called “hunt forward” just since 2018. These operations, Nakasone said, were done to guard against efforts from foreign individuals, groups and governments to influence either the electoral process in the U.S. or other interests of America.

He told the group of people in attendance at the conference that these efforts would take place through November’s midterm elections, which will ultimately determine which political party holds power of Congress. Also up for election in the midterms are some key gubernatorial positions, such as that in Georgia.

Nakasone commented:

“I’m thinking about new and unique ways that an adversary might try to disrupt or try to influence our elections. This is a growth industry for us. We do have a series of operations that we’re conducting now and into the future as we approach the fall.”

One of the biggest foreign adversaries that could seek to influence the midterms is Russia, according to both Nakasone and Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Both of the leaders said Russia poses a potential major cyber threat to the upcoming elections, even as many of the hackers who have been linked with the Russian government are working hard to support the war with Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nakasone believes that these hacker groups will still have plenty of time to meddle in the midterm elections this November, even with all the activity they’re focusing on the war with Ukraine. He said:

“That’s not a thought process that we go into ’22 with.”

Not surprisingly, Nakasone didn’t detail specifically what the NSA’s efforts include. He only detailed that the agency as well as Cyber Command are hyper-focused on the potential foreign threats that could end up significantly influencing these ever-important elections in the U.S.