State Department offers up to $10 million reward for information on foreign election interference

The most recent and high-profile example of foreign election interference occurred in 2016, when the Russian government interfered in the presidential election in an attempt to help Donald Trump defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. For years, Trump has called allegations of Russian influence a « hoax, » but a 158-page bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report found the Kremlin heavily favors the Republican nominee.

“Russia, if you listen, I hope you can find the missing 30,000 emails,” Trump sadly told a newsroom in 2016, referring to a private server Clinton used when she was secretary. of state in the Obama administration. « I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. »

In a 448-page report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that the Russian government intervened in the election in a « radical and systemic manner, » compromising Democrats’ computer networks and targeting state and local election offices.

Today, foreign election interference is often seen as online disinformation campaigns, tampering with electronic votes, and malicious cyber activity, but cases of foreign misconduct date back decades.

In 1968, the first documented case of foreign election interference occurred during Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign against his Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. In an attempt to tarnish the Democratic administration’s image, Nixon coordinated with the South Vietnamese government to avoid peace negotiations with President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Humphrey. The Johnson administration knew about the plot but could not link Nixon to the arrangements, causing the interference to remain private until years later.

About a decade later, another case of foreign election interference occurred involving Iran. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter hit a stalemate when 63 American diplomats and servicemen were taken hostage by students who stormed the American Embassy in Tehran. Rumor has it that Republican candidate Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager colluded with the Iranians to delay the release of the hostages until after the election because an earlier successful release of the hostages could favorably influence the election for Carter. Shortly after Reagan was sworn in, the American hostages were freed and flown back from Tehran.

Since its launch in 1984, the Rewards for Justice program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, has provided more than $250 million to more than 125 individuals to address national security threats, officials said. responsible.


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