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Ex-VP Biden warns of election interference, citing Russia

Then-Vice President Joe Biden speaks to troops at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Biden said the nation owes them their gratitude and support for their service in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia, April 16, 2009. (Staff Sergeant Charles Larkin Sr./U.S. Air Force)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has warned of efforts by foreign countries to interfere in upcoming elections, “particularly coming from Russian” actors.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on February 16, Biden warned of the threat of “cyberattacks, dark money influence operations, and disinformation” from Moscow, but “also other actors, to undermine confidence of people in each of our countries in the democratic process.”

“Foreign election interference is not only a serious threat to our democratic institutions, I believe it’s a threat to our national security,” Biden added.

The 76-year-old Biden, who has not yet announced whether he will run in the 2020 presidential election, served as vice president under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.

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He was speaking on the occasion of the launch of a body called the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity.

The effort has established an online registry where political parties and candidates are asked to sign a pledge to “not aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy.”

Politicians would vow not to use materials that were “falsified, fabricated, doxed, or stolen for disinformation or propaganda purposes.” Doxxing is a term that refers to the publishing of someone’s stolen private data.

Also speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former NATO secretary-general and ex-Danish prime minister, warned that “malign powers will want to have their say, too” when millions of Europeans vote in May.

“Based on previous experience, it is highly likely that foreign powers will target many of these elections, either by breaking into electoral systems, covertly supporting candidates or in getting toxic news in traditional and online media,” he said.

Speaking at the conference itself, Biden said, “I strongly support NATO. I believe it is the single most significant military alliance in the world.”

“I think it is the basis upon which we have been able to keep peace and stability for the past 70 years. It is the heart of our collective security.”

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Critics and some U.S. allies have expressed concerns about President Donald Trump’s commitment to the Western alliance.

During his presidential campaign and since, Trump has demanded that member nations pay more for their own defense, asserting that the United States is paying more than its fair share.