National security adviser Robert OBrien said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is targeting U.S. election infrastructure with cyberattacks leading up to the November election, suggesting a more active level of CCP interference.
His comments came after a statement released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the CCP is trying to expand its influence on the election.
“Theyd like to see the president lose,” OBrien said on CBS “Face the Nation,” referring to the CCP.
“China—like Russia, like Iran—theyve engaged in cyberattacks and phishing and that sort of thing with respect to our election infrastructure, with respect to websites and that sort of thing,” the adviser said on Sunday.
In response to a question from CBS Margaret Brennan that both the Kremlin and the CCP have attempted to access state websites to collect data, OBrien responded, “Its a real concern … But its not just Russia, Margaret, its the Chinese dont want the president reelected.”
In elaborating, OBrien said U.S. officials have seen hackers attempt to infiltrate Secretary of State websites that belong to offices positioned around the nation. Those offices are responsible for administering elections at the local level, while collecting data.
“It is a real concern and its not just Russia,” he said. “There will be severe consequences for any country that attempts to interfere in our free and fair elections.”
OBrien said that it doesnt matter whether Russia or China prefers Trump or presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“Whether their leaders prefer Joe Biden or prefer Donald Trump, it doesnt matter. Were Americans. Were not going to have foreign countries deciding who our next president is going to be. Thats outrageous,” he told CBS.
Last week, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, made the assessment that China “prefers that President Trump—whom Beijing sees as unpredictable—does not win reelection.”
The CCP is working hard to put pressure on elected officials and candidates party leaders view as being opposed to Chinas interests.
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