If China is willing to go to the U.S. heartland, and sneak into fields to dig up proprietary, genetically modified seeds that cost billions in research and development, then it should be no surprise to find the CCP meddling in our most sacred Democratic process: voting in elections.
According to a new security audit from cybersecurity firm Mandiant, China is making “aggressive attempts to discredit the U.S. democratic process, including attempts to discourage Americans from voting in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.”
The operation is called “Dragonbridge.”
The Free Beacon reports that the CCP’s Dragonbridge operation has similar hallmarks to those of other foreign actors, Like Iran and Russia. Dragonbridge, through a network of anonymous online social media accounts is promoting “narratives that appeared intended to discredit and undermine the U.S. political system.”
According to Mandiant, as early as September, Dragonbridge accounts were sharing “content attempting to discourage Americans from voting in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.” Like the efforts helmed by Russia and Iran, China wants to sow doubts about “the efficacy of voting and of U.S. government institutions more broadly.”
Additionally, Mandiant found that the common Dragonbridge narrative promotes the idea that “that political infighting, partisanship, polarization, and division had become fundamental aspects of American democracy. The campaign also pointed to frequent mentions of ‘civil war’ on social media and incidents of politically motivated violence, including confrontations between individuals supporting opposing parties and acts against the FBI, as evidence of the deterioration of the political process and its impending demise.”
Evidence of China’s weaponization of social media platforms was found late last year.
The New York Times recently reviewed documents revealing the shocking extent of China’s disinformation campaign. The Chinese government hires private contractors, asking them to “register accounts on social media platforms”; “disguise and maintain overseas social media accounts”; “create original videos”; and “collect overseas information.”
“Shanghai police posted a notice online seeking bids from private contractors for what is known among Chinese officialdom as public opinion management,” NYT reports. “Officials have relied on tech contractors to help them keep up with domestic social media and actively shape public opinion via censorship and the dissemination of fake posts at home. Only recently have officials and the opinion management industry turned their attention beyond China.”
Throughout the 2022 election cycle, the Dragonbridge campaign has exhibited “aggressiveness through both the content of its narratives and its willingness to experiment with new tactics to accomplish its aims,” according to Mandiant.
Our enemies are getting smarter —let’s hope we are too.