China targeting US election infrastructure with cyberattacks, says Trump's aide

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 09, 2020, 11.18 PM(IST)

File photo: Biden and Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

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"The US presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in April.

Chinese government-linked hackers have been targeting US election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 presidential election, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday.

O'Brien's comments appeared to go beyond a statement released on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which said China "has been expanding its influence efforts," and that Russia was already trying to undercut Democratic candidate Joe Biden. But did not specifically accuse Beijing of hacking attempts against US election-related systems.

"They'd like to see the President lose," O'Brien said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "China - like Russia, like Iran - they've engaged in cyberattacks and phishing and that sort of thing with respect to our election infrastructure, with respect to websites and that sort of thing."

China has consistently denied US government claims that it hacks US companies, politicians or government agencies. 

"The US presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in April.

O'Brien indicating a more active level of alleged Chinese interference, said the United States had seen hackers try to infiltrate websites belonging to Secretary of State offices around the country, which are responsible for administering elections at the local level, and collecting data on Americans.

"It is a real concern and it's not just Russia," he said. "There will be severe consequences for any country that attempts to interfere in our free and fair elections."