Trump’s DHS guts task forces protecting elections from foreign meddling

“The clear assessment from the intelligence community is that 2020 is going to be the perfect storm,” said a DHS official familiar with the teams. “We know Russia is going to be engaged. Other state actors have seen the success of Russia and realize the value of disinformation operations. So it’s very curious why the task forces were demoted in the bureaucracy and the leadership has not committed resources to prepare for the 2020 election.”…

One of the task forces is now half the size it was a few months ago, according to two DHS officials familiar with the task forces, and there’s no indication that DHS senior political leadership will staff it up or sustain it. Instead, there are concerns it will completely wither away. The other task force also shrank significantly shortly after the midterms, according to that official, and before its members produced a thorough assessment of what happened during the 2018 elections…

The election task force has worked to shield election infrastructure from foreign efforts to change vote counts. And the foreign influence task force is working to publicly reveal efforts by foreign actors to shape American political discourse on social media—in the hopes of significantly expanding Americans’ understanding of the threat. It was also designed to improve DHS’s coordination with foreign allies who face the same threat, and to help DHS better alert the private sector about threats.