Russia, China, and Iran are reportedly working to sabotage the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. through various means, according to new reports from intelligence officials. Russia is working to “denigrate” presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while China and Iran are said to be targeting President Donald Trump’s reelection chances.

“Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer,” said William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence Security Center, on Friday. “We are primarily concerned about the ongoing and potential activity by China, Russia and Iran.”

Russian elements linked to the Kremlin are said to be working against Biden due to his opposition to President Vladimir Putin and the general anti-Russian sentiment among his supporters. Biden’s involvement in bridging U.S.-Ukraine relations during his time as Vice President is also said to be a factor.

Russia has long been accused of working to cripple U.S. election security and to further the success of Trump’s candidacy. The Trump campaign has also faced numerous accusations over the years of collusion with Russia, while Trump has infamously been complimentary towards the widely criticized Putin in his public statements on Russia.

On the other side, officials said that China views Trump as too “unpredictable” and is working to prevent his reelection. To that end, Beijing has reportedly been escalating its effort to influence public opinions in the U.S. and has been more vocally critical of the Trump administration’s actions.

“Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action,” Evanina said. “Its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston consulate and actions on other issues.”

Iran has reportedly been working to spread division and misinformation on social media ahead of the general election in November. The Iranian government is said to be targeting Trump’s reelection due to his continued pressure against them.

“Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on online influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content,” Evanina explained. “Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s re-election would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”

Evanina’s reports on foreign campaigns against the U.S. comes in response to criticism from top Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that the intelligence community has not been forthcoming about such issues.

Relations between Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) and Vladimir Putin's Russia have taken a knock.
Relations between Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) and Vladimir Putin's Russia have taken a knock. Sputnik / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV