New American intelligence report rules out Chinese meddling in the 2020 US presidential elections.
When the presidential elections were underway across the United States in November, some top American officials and major media organisations claimed China had directed a “relentless” campaign in order to meddle in the polls.
Robert O'Brien, national security adviser under the former Trump administration, even said that China played “the most active role” among other foreign countries like Russia and Iran in interfering with US elections.
“I am not going to go into all the intelligence, but the massive activities of the Chinese and cyber realm, it’s really an extraordinary thing that we’re facing,” O’Brien said in September. He even compared it to the Soviets in the Cold War, finding Chinese efforts unprecedented. “We’ve never seen anything like it,” he claimed.
But according to a comprehensive declassified US intelligence community assessment (ICA) released on March 10, no such thing happened — a revelation that is in complete contrast to the Trump administration's narrative.
“We assess that China did not deploy interference efforts and considered but did not deploy interference efforts intended to change the outcome of the US Presidential election,” said the ICA report.
“We have high confidence in this judgment,” the report added, using a language which refutes almost all previous Chinese meddling allegations made during the Trump era.
During this time, tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated on various fronts, ranging from the trade war, to China’s assimilation policy of the country’s biggest minority, the Uyghurs.
President Biden, seeks better relations with Beijing, trying to somewhat restore ties established under the former Obama administration.
In some parts, the new intelligence report sounded like it was sending a diplomatic message to China.
“China sought stability in its relationship with the United States and did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling and assessed its traditional influence tools - primarily targeted economic measures and lobbying - would be sufficient to meet its goal of shaping US China policy regardless of the winner,” the report said.
However, the assessment did find the existence of Russian meddling efforts, as well as Iranian interference, in the 2020 elections.
Unlike Trump, the new Biden administration wants to place enough pressure on Moscow in order to persuade Vladimir Putin not to escalate tensions in regions like Syria, Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
As for Iran, Washington’s harsh political stance does not seem to change. While Biden expressed his willingness to come back to the internationally-approved nuclear deal, nullifying Trump’s maximum pressure, recent signs from Washington do not indicate that tensions will calm down easily.
The recent intelligence assessment found a “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” launched by Tehran against Washington in order to interfere with the US elections.
In light of the new information about Chinese interference, many might feel that America’s claims over Russian and Iranian meddling efforts are less credible.
The report also refers to other tampering emanating from Cuba, Venezuela and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia armed group, which is an Iranian proxy.
Cuba and Venezuela are led by socialist governments, and have been allies of Russia.
Another false story among others
The unfounded claims of China’s meddling in the presidential elections has become yet another item to the inventory of false US intelligence assessments.
Prior to the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US government, under former President George W. Bush also made false allegations stating that Baghdad under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The assertions, which were used to launch the war against Iraq, were based on a false intelligence assessment.
In 2004, a bipartisan US committee found that Washington’s war on Iraq was based on a “flawed” intelligence assessment.
"The committee found no evidence that the intelligence community's mischaracterisation or exaggeration of intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of politics or pressure,” said former Republican Senator, Pat Roberts, the chair of the bipartisan committee.
“In the end, what the president and the Congress used to send the country to war was information that was provided by the intelligence community, and that information was flawed," Roberts added.
"We in Congress would not have authorised that war, we would not have authorised that war with 75 votes, if we knew what we know now," said Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, the committee's vice-chairman.
From 2003 to 2011, the US war in Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of people. As of today, internal political chaos across Iraq continues to rage, leading to deadly clashes between different political groups.