CSIS warned that state actors may use blackmail and threats to influence voters and politicians in the next election
The Canadian spy agency said that state actors may try to blackmail voters and pressure politicians to influence the outcome of the next election.
The warning is contained in a special report on the threat of foreign interference, which documents some of the tactics that the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency has observed over the years.
Its announcement coincides with an election conference call that Ottawa is preparing to hold in the coming weeks. That election, when it came, It is likely to see foreign attempts to interfere On the Internet, the communications security agency has issued a warning.
“Over the years, CSIS has observed continuous and complex state-backed threat activity against elections, and its frequency and complexity continue to increase,” Take note of the report.
Intelligence agencies say that state actors view voters as vulnerable targets.
The report said: “State actors may use threats, bribery or blackmail to influence the voting behavior of individuals inside and outside the community.”
“If individuals do not comply with the requirement to openly support a particular candidate or provide funding to a foreign political party of choice, they may be threatened or feared of retaliation for themselves or their loved ones in Canada or abroad.
“While state actors may use coercive means to achieve their goals, they may also use flattery, promise compensation, or appeal to one’s pride in another country to trigger the behavior they want.”
CSIS stated that state actors may also try to influence members of Congress and their staff through threats or more subtle tactics (such as romantic entanglement).
CSIS warned: “These relationships can manipulate the target when needed, for example, by requesting inappropriate and special’favors.'”
“Individuals may also hinder or postpone actions that violate foreign interests.”
Donations with “conditions attached”
According to the report, state actors may also try to place parliamentarians, candidates or political workers in a compromise situation for extortion purposes.
The agency recommends that potential targets be wary of unnatural social interactions, frequent requests for private meetings, untimely introductions or engagements, gifts, or full paid travel.
According to the report, political donors, lobbying groups, community organizations and the media could also be targeted.
The report said: “For candidates who accept donations, there may be’conditions attached’ and it is expected that the candidates will act in the best interest of the country.”
The report did not cite the names of hostile state actors by name. CSIS Director David Vigneault has publicly listed China and Russia as the two main countries of concern for foreign interference in the past.
The agency said it hopes to release Thursday’s report to alert Canadians of this threat.
“Although Canada’s electoral system is strong, foreign interference poses a major threat to the integrity of our democratic system, political system, and fundamental rights and freedoms,” it said.
The report was released after CSIS has been busy for a year. The agency stated that 2020 is the highest level of foreign espionage and foreign interference targeting Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War.