15:34 GMT16 April 2021
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    Earlier, a 15-page declassified report released by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin knew of and directed a state effort to manipulate the heated 2020 presidential election so it would favor former US President Donald Trump's reelection efforts.

    The Biden administration is reportedly gearing up to issue an undisclosed number of sanctions against Russia in the coming week as a response to the NIC report that claims Moscow allegedly attempted to influence the US election.

    Citing three unidentified officials from the US Department of State, CNN reported Tuesday that aside from Russia, the looming sanctions will also be targeting China and Iran.

    The NIC report alleged that both China and Iran were among a group of nations that "took some steps to attempt to influence the election," noting that Tehran had "carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut" Trump's reelection efforts. 

    As for China, officials concluded that the nation allegedly "considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the US presidential election."

    Investigators further explained in their findings that China "did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling." Rather, China used economic measures and lobbying to shape its policies with Washington.

    Other countries lumped in the offending group included Venezuela and Cuba, along with Hezbollah.

    The report, which was initially presented to Trump and legislative officials on January 7 - the day after the deadly Capitol riot, accuses Putin and a "range of Russian government organizations" of having carried out operations that diminished Biden's candidacy and "undermin[ed] public confidence in the electoral process," among other accusations.

    "Unlike in 2016, we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure," the report states.

    "A key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives - including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden - to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration."

    However, while the report urges that various parties attempted to influence the 2020 election, it also emphasizes that there are "no indications that any foreign actor attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US elections, including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation, or reporting results."

    The conclusion ultimately echoes a statement previously issued by Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs was dismissed from his post after the November election as he had spearheaded a campaign to counter unsubstantiated rumors of voter fraud that were repeatedly voiced by Trump and his supporters.


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