NSA Chief Vows to Hit Back at Nations Interfering in U.S. Vote

One of America’s top spy chiefs vowed that the U.S. will hit back at foreign nations attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, a warning delivered days after fresh charges of Russian hacking against the West.

“We’re going to act when we see adversaries attempting to interfere in our elections,” General Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, said Monday during a virtual event hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

NSA efforts to secure the November election include broadening the agency’s interagency partnerships and studying the techniques of U.S. adversaries, Nakasone added.

“We’re going to know our adversaries better than they know themselves,” he said.

Nakasone’s comments come after reports of Russian hacking once again surfaced last week, with the U.K., U.S. and Canada accusing Russia of attempting to steal international research to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Britain also accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the country’s general election last year by disseminating documents relating to trade talks with the U.S. Russia rejected the charges.

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The 2018 U.S. midterm elections demonstrated the country’s enhanced “agility” across government agencies, Nakasone said, adding that the NSA’s capabilities were now “battle-tested.”

The cyber chief also addressed the ongoing debate over 5G technology as countries across the world assess the role of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co.

“Part of the 5G conversation has been, do nations want to entrust the security of what will likely be the most important platform for their communications to nations that do not share their values?” he asked. “We’re in an era of great power competition. We see it every day in cyberspace.”

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