“What if a foreign adversary hacks our secretary of states’ websites and changes the vote totals?” U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien asked earlier this month. Sure, the United States has never been hit by this sort of election interference before. But the art of keeping a country safe is the art of anticipating what the enemy might do next. As both Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping have demonstrated, America’s rivals are innovative. Americans, with an election around the corner and at risk in known and unknown ways, need to do their part to keep the country safe—by thinking like the enemy. That means volunteering to fight cyberintruders and preparing for an Election Day that could feature power cuts and GPS jamming.
O’Brien is far from alone in fretting about the harm assorted adversaries can cause U.S. democracy by interfering in this most fraught of elections. Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told U.S. lawmakers that Russia was generating a “steady drumbeat of misinformation” aimed at discrediting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the election itself, and in August William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned that Russia, China, and Iran were all trying to interfere with the election—China mostly to denigrate Trump, Russia to denigrate Biden, and Iran to discredit the elections altogether. Facebook has already removed a few accounts used to spread Russian fake news.