U.S. looking at N. Korea among other nations for possible election meddling

September 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) — The United States is monitoring North Korea, among other nations, for possible interference in the U.S. midterm elections in November, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order the same day to allow sanctions on foreign governments or their agents for interference in U.S. elections.

The action is mainly aimed at addressing concerns following Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

“We have seen signs of not just Russia, but from China, of capabilities, potentially from Iran and even North Korea,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a telephone briefing with reporters. “So the others do incorporate — it’s more than Russia here that we’re looking at.”

On whether North Korea has attempted to meddle in the November elections, the intelligence chief did not respond.

Speaking on the same phone call, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton also remained vague on whether there is evidence of election interference by North Korea, Iran and China.

“Well, you know, we see attempts,” he said. “We’re monitoring it very, very closely. It’s just an ongoing process. What we see is the capability and attempts. But in terms of what the influence will be — is and will be — we continue to analyze all that, and again, put in place the kind of deterrents in terms of keeping our election process free from that influence.”

Trump has drawn flak for refusing to denounce Russia over its alleged election interference.

The White House sought to dispel accusations that Trump is weak on election security, issuing a statement describing the order as evidence the president is “working to protect our nation’s elections from foreign interference.”

Last week the U.S. charged a North Korean individual for the first time for his alleged cyberattacks on Sony Pictures and other entities since 2014.