- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2020

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Wednesday about Russia’s continued meddling in U.S. elections, saying its disinformation campaigns have been an ongoing threat since 2016.

“It never stopped. It happened in 2016, and it’s been continuing ever since then. It may have an uptick during an election cycle, but it is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year threat,” Mr. Wray said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Russia masterminded a misinformation and propaganda campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. Measures ranged from using social media to spread fake news and creating automated bots to create what appeared to be U.S. social media accounts to push Russian interests.

Those efforts ramped up as the 2016 election approached.

Mr. Wray said Wednesday in testimony before the Judiciary Committee that Russia has not backed down since then.

“We certainly are seeing — and never really stopped seeing since 2016 — efforts to engage in malign foreign influence by Russians,” he said. “That kind of effort is very much ongoing. That’s not just an election issue, but of course, now that we are in an election year, it is an effort to influence the public in that regard.”

Mr. Wray said stopping disinformation campaigns poses a unique challenge for the FBI.

“In a world where we have a First Amendment and believe strongly in freedom of expression, the FBI is not going to be in the business of being the truth police and monitoring the truth online,” he said.

Mr. Wray called on social media companies to work with the FBI and report any suspicious activities.

The director also said the FBI has not seen any Russian efforts to target election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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