U.S. Counterintelligence Chief Warns of Meddling After Iowa Vote

Chris Strohm

(Bloomberg) -- The head of U.S. counterintelligence operations said he’s worried foreign adversaries might seize on the confusion that erupted over voting in the Iowa Democratic caucuses last week to advance disinformation and influence campaigns.

“How could our adversaries take what happened in Iowa and pour gasoline on that?” William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said during a briefing with reporters on Monday.

The reporting of the results of the Feb. 3 caucuses was marred from the beginning by problems with a smartphone app that didn’t work and a backup telephone hotline that was jammed by calls from supporters of President Donald Trump.

Evanina didn’t say he was aware of any foreign influence or disinformation affecting the Iowa caucus process or vote.

He acknowledged that conspiracy theories quickly emerged following problems tallying the vote, including that there was an effort to prevent Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders from being able to declare any sense of victory.

Sanders rival Pete Buttigieg collected the most delegates in Iowa, earning 14 to Sanders’ 12, but both campaigns have called for a partial retablulation.

Evanina said the U.S. government doesn’t have an efficient way to counter fake information. “We don’t have a U.S. information agency,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, John Harney

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.