President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will slap sanctions on foreign companies or people who interfere in USA elections.
The threatened sanctions are notable because they aim not just at foreign companies and individuals seeking to disrupt U.S. electoral infrastructure - electoral databases, vote tabulation processes and the like - but also of propaganda campaigns and leaks of sensitive political information.
The order also is aimed at deterring the kind of election influence allegedly carried out by Russia in the 2016 presidential election, when USA intelligence services claim Russian entities spread disinformation in efforts to influence the balloting.
National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a Federalist Society luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Sept. 10, 2018.
At a press briefing following the executive order, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the move was "intended to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation" of United States politics, US media reported.
"I thought there was an opportunity there that I wish we would have taken advantage of", Rogers said at an event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on the relationship between the presidency and the intelligence community.
With under two months until the first national United States elections since 2016, the Trump administration is outlining how it would respond to the kind of election meddling senior intelligence officials say could be coming.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a "witch hunt".
'That It's something he cares deeply about that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him, ' Bolton said.
"When it comes to foreign policy, my administration has delivered decisively and taken action where previous administrations have not", Trump said. The order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections. It would then turn over a report to officials in the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, who would then make their own determination. If they agree with the assessment, it would trigger automatic sanctions.
Potential sanctions could include a block on financial transactions, export license restrictions, restrictions on access to American financial institutions and investments, and restrictions on entry to the US.
The Treasury and State departments also would be advised of the election attack and would be able to impose additional sanctions. "We have a process in place to ensure that and retaliate if necessary".
Some former officials also praised the order as a "step in the right direction".
Congressional pressure for tougher federal defenses against foreign election interference grew following Trump's July 16 summit and news conference with Putin, when Trump avoided publicly confronting the Russian leader about Moscow's efforts to influence the election. "So I think this order is a further demonstration of that", he added.
Still, Kanuck said the executive order alone is likely not enough.
Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made US voting systems more secure against foreign hackers.