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FBI Charlotte Issues Public Guidance on 2020 Election Security

Everyone Has a Role to Play to Combat Foreign Influence and Protect Our Elections

The Charlotte Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provides the public with additional information to guard against foreign influence and disinformation campaigns in advance of the 2020 election.

John Strong, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, said: “We all have a role to play to protect our elections' sanctity. We are asking the public to help us protect the American democratic system from foreign adversaries. Every time you share something on social media or in a conversation with a friend, ask yourself, ‘did I confirm this is accurate and verified?' It may seem trivial, but make sure you only share confirmed information on social media would go a long way towards protecting our democracy. Foreign adversaries are counting on you to share their propaganda and lies blindly.

The Foreign Influence Threat

Foreign adversaries, including Russia and China, and foreign-aligned groups try to influence American political processes illegally. Malign foreign influence operations are designed to undermine confidence in our democratic institutions. Three common foreign influence methods are:

What the Public Can Do

How the FBI is Combatting Foreign Influence

In the fall of 2017, FBI Director Christopher Wray established the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) to identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States. Through the FITF, the FBI is the federal lead for identifying and combating foreign influence operations targeting our democratic institutions and values.

The FBI is working closely with partners at every level to understand the threat better, share intelligence, and ultimately detect, disrupt, and deter our adversaries. The FBI works closely with interagency partners and state and local partners to ensure we share information as it becomes available. It can include threat information, actionable leads, or indicators.

The FBI has also established relationships with various social media and technology companies and maintains an ongoing dialogue to enable a quick exchange of threat information. However, social media companies independently make decisions regarding their platforms' content and their members' safety.

The FITF considers strategic engagement with U.S. technology companies, including threat indicator sharing, to be critically important in combating foreign influence actors. We cannot let our guard down when it comes to protecting our elections. We certainly will do everything possible to prevent any foreign power from engaging in malign foreign influence.

The FBI has election crime coordinators in each local field office to assess and address potential threats to the primaries and general elections and ensure that your constitutional rights are protected.

Source: Press Release
FBI Charlotte
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch
Date: September 9, 2020

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