Politics

Group of former U.S. officials urges Senate to act on election security ahead of 2020 election

A group of 100 former U.S. officials, lawmakers, Cabinet officials, and diplomats penned a letter on Thursday to the Senate, urging members to bolster security ahead of next year’s presidential election against what they called “severe” potential national security threats.

The group from Issue One’s ReFormer Caucus referenced five active bipartisan bills that are tied to security and asking lawmakers to act on them before November 2020.

The legislation calls for greater online transparency for political ads and would authorize sanctions against countries that interfere, as Russia attempted to do in 2016.

Other bills, meanwhile, call for focusing more on stopping foreign influence and curbing money spent on political campaigns.

“Foreign interference in American elections is a national security emergency,” they wrote in the letter.

“We are alarmed at the lack of meaningful Congressional action to secure our elections. The United States cannot afford to sit by as our adversaries exploit our vulnerabilities. Congress — especially the Senate — must enact a robust and bipartisan set of policies now,” the letter continued.

The group of 100 includes former Defense Secretaries Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, who served under President Barack Obama, and former Homeland Security Secretary James Loy, who served under President George W. Bush.

Already, social media platforms Facebook and Twitter have taken action to limit or cut out political advertising and misinformation.

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday.

“Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”

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