In 1948, Italy had one of the strongest Communist Parties in Western Europe. The country was not a friendly ally of the U.S.
During the election of 1948, communists threatened to take over Italy by winning at the polls.
But the U.S. intervened to support democratic candidates.
President Truman confronted communists by using the CIA to support non-communist parties.
The Soviets were using local Communist parties to overthrow pro-Western governments.
The Soviets didn’t want war, but they gained control using psychological methods.
For example, until 1948, Czechoslovakia had been a democratic state.
But in the space of seven days, it transformed into a Communist dictatorship.
And a replay of this event was about to happen in Italy, until the U.S. took action.
Naturally, President Truman denied any responsibility for cloak and dagger operations.
But covert intelligence operations in support of foreign elections occurred during his Presidency.
In fact, one CIA operative claimed the U.S. delivered bags of money to select politicians.
America paid for political posters and pamphlets.
And U.S. agencies wrote over ten million letters and made short wave radio broadcasts.
Plus, they funded the publishing of books and articles against Communism.
The information warned Italians of the consequences of a communist state.
Time Magazine even helped the U.S. by featuring Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi on its cover in 1948.
And the CIA paid campaign expenses for pro-western politicians.
The U.S. spent between ten and twenty million dollars on anti-communist propaganda.
And the goal to weaken the Communists was a success.
Before the Cold War ended, the U.S. and Soviet Union influenced elections from Chile to Japan.
Those operations manipulated ballots and influenced public opinion.
However, former CIA Directors claim that the U.S. hasn’t influenced an election in the past 20 years.
Sure, in the past the CIA admittedly influenced foreign voters…
But allegedly over the last 20 years, that hasn’t occurred.
Now, the 2020 U.S. elections are right around the corner…
And it’s no secret that Russian operatives continue to interfere with elections around the world.
So, here are some things to look out for in case Russia – or another country – tries to influence our elections – again (which they will).
Cyberattacks: In 2016, Russian intelligence conducted cyberattacks against targets inside the United States.
They stole data they knew would embarrass people and released it on WikiLeaks.
Russia targeted state election infrastructure around the U.S.
For example, they attempted to hack software vendors used by states.
Social media: Foreign operatives posed as Americans on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Using social media, Russian operatives wreaked havoc…
They scheduled pro and anti-Muslim rallies – at the same time and place – right across from each other.
And they arranged dozens of such rallies around the U.S.
All designed to create social unrest and chaos.
Social media platforms remove bots and fake accounts intended to influence politics.
Yet, there is no way to stop them all.
Internet searches: The World Wide Web is supposed to offer us unlimited information.
Yet, search engines that we rely on for information actually pick what we see.
Already, standard search algorithms put one candidate’s name higher than the other.
So, the public is already influenced by the search engine manipulation effect.
Search engine algorithms have been influencing the outcome of elections around the world.
Leaders of U.S. intelligence say they’re working on making sure that elections are secure.
The Department of Homeland Security is extending help to state election officials.
Americans are on their guard about foreign interference in a way they weren’t before.
But, the tactics and techniques are always changing.
So, as you already know, don’t blindly trust everything you see or read on the internet.
But definitely make sure you vote.