In response to questions after a speech Friday in front of the Council on Foreign Relations, FBI director Christopher Wray called Russian efforts using social media to influence elections in the US “pretty much a 365-days-a-year” threat. According to the New York Times, an unnamed senior official said that a Foreign Influence Task Force at the agency that had been formed temporarily ahead of the midterm elections in response to the threat is now permanent, and that nearly 40 agents and analysts had been moved into it.
It also reported the midterm election task force at the Department of Homeland Security is now permanent, and the same goes for a joint task force formed by the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command. One of the possibilities they described preparing for is that an influence campaign could try to raise questions about irregularities or possible fraud in results — items the president has already claimed are problems but blaming very different sources.
While those operations were apparently at “full speed” in the 2018 cycle, Wray called that a “dress rehearsal” for 2020.