Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would take harsh action against any nation-state that attempted to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, “whether by hacking voting systems and databases, laundering money into our political system, systematically spreading disinformation, or trying to sow doubt about the integrity of our elections.”
If Biden gains the White House in November, he will treat foreign interference in the election “as an adversarial act that significantly affects the relationship between the United States and the interfering nation’s government,” the vice president wrote in a statement released Monday evening. “I will direct the U.S. Intelligence Community to report publicly and in a timely manner on any efforts by foreign governments that have interfered, or attempted to interfere, with U.S. elections.”
Biden pledged to “leverage all appropriate instruments of national power” and fully use executive authority to impose substantial and lasting costs punishment on state actors, including “financial-sector sanctions, asset freezes, cyber responses, and the exposure of corruption.”
The former vice president recently hired Chris DeRusha, former chief security officer with the State of Michigan, as his campaign’s CISO. DeRusha has fewer than four months to implement his cybersecurity vision before Election Day arrives, complicated by a pandemic that has altered how campaigns operate.
The former vice president’s statement came as House and Senate Democratic leaders released the contents of a letter sent last week to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a counterintelligence briefing for Congress on attempts by foreign entities to interfere in the 2020 election.
“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate and the presidential election,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif.; Senate Intelligence Committee Co-chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.; and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote to Wray.
Among their concerns is that foreign actors are funneling disinformation into an investigation into the former vice president’s son Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings being led by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, a Politico report said.
“Committee staff has already requested and received a staff briefing on this issue, and Chairman Johnson has requested an additional briefing at the member level,“ the report cited a Johnson spokesman as saying.