'No material impact' from foreign meddling in 2018 US congressional polls: Report

An American flag flies near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
An American flag flies near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Foreign meddling and hacking attempts had "no material impact" on the US midterm congressional elections last year, according to a high-level review by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Tuesday (Feb 5).

A summary of the classified report did not confirm various reports from state and local security officials during the campaign that foreign actors tried to break into voting systems and databases in multiple states.

But the two departments said they concluded that "there is no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure used in the 2018 midterm elections."

The US government intensified its scrutiny of the vote after concluding that the Russian government ran a concerted operation during the 2016 presidential campaign to hack into political party computers and voting systems and to influence voters via social media disinformation.

US intelligence has concluded that, while voting systems were not significantly impacted during 2016, the social media campaign and the hacking of Democratic Party computers bolstered the campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

US security officials have said that they forsee a potent interference threat from foreign governments, including Russia, China and Iran, in the 2020 presidential election.