- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, expressed serious concerns in an interview out Wednesday about foreign interference into November’s general election.

Mr. Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned that Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race pales in comparison to what he expects to occur next.

“I’m not going to get into anything classified, but I’ll tell your readers point-blank that as of today, what we will see in terms of foreign interference in 2020 is going to make 2016 look like small potatoes,” Mr. Wyden told Fast Company.

Mr. Wyden made the remark while being interviewed last week after Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to unanimously pass three separate election-security bills proposed in the Senate.

Democrats including Mr. Wyden had requested unanimous approval to pass the election security bills but were rebuffed by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican.

Among the proposals blocked by Ms. Blackburn from advancing was the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, co-sponsored by Mr. Wyden.

Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat running for president, passage of the SAFE Act would provide financial support and enhanced security for infrastructure used in elections, among other provisions, effectively allowing the federal government to implement safeguards for systems otherwise managed by states and localities.

“This is a national security issue,” Mr. Wyden told Fast Company after the bill was blocked. “If we were being attacked by the Russians or any other superpower, we wouldn’t say, ‘Let’s send the county law enforcement folks,’ even as we so appreciate them and think they’re terrific.”

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Russian hackers successfully breached election infrastructure during the last White House race, and several senior members of President Trump’s administration have subsequently warned that other adversaries are likely to follow suit.

“This is not a Russia-only problem,” Shelby Pierson, the election security threats executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said last month. “Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, non-state hacktivists all have opportunity, means and potentially motive to come after the United States in the 2020 election to accomplish their goals.”

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