U.S. National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe informed members of Congress that foreign influence against Congress is much greater than previously thought, China is behind most of the campaigns, the Hill newspaper reported citing sources.
Ratcliffe reportedly informed Congress members in closed meetings last month about the threat of growing foreign influence from “ordinary suspects”: China, Russia, and Iran. At the same time, Ratcliffe emphasized that Beijing is “the main aggressor.
The head of intelligence said the number of members of Congress campaigning against foreign influence could range from about 10 to 50. At the same time, he did not specify who exactly we are talking about.
“(Intelligence) learned that the operations associated with the influence of China in respect of members of Congress about six times more than from Russia and 12 times more than from Iran,” – told the newspaper one of the intelligence officers.
According to a number of newspaper sources, Ratcliffe, speaking about an attempt to interfere by China, could have been referring to his attempts to lobby Congress members to support a certain agenda.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of attempts to influence democratic processes in different countries, and the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov called them “absolutely unsubstantiated”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking about the alleged Russian interference in the elections in different countries, said that there are no facts to confirm this.
The U.S. authorities accused Russia in 2016 of interfering in the elections, Moscow denies it. Based on an unconfirmed report on Trump’s “ties to Russia”, U.S. intelligence agencies have been monitoring Trump’s staff. The “Russian case” was subsequently investigated by Special Prosecutor Robert Muller, who found no evidence of Trump’s “collusion with Russia.