A former FBI counterintelligence chief said the 2020 elections are just the latest target of a Russian government poised to disrupt the U.S. by manipulating voter trust in the system.
"They hate all Americans,” retired FBI agent Robin Dreeke said. ”The only agenda they ever had was to sew distrust in the United States.”
Dreeke said he understands the Russian profile because during his time in the FBI he recruited Russians to spy on their own government.
Dreeke handled counter-intelligence and led the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis program for more than 21 years.
“Just like they recruit people, we recruit people,” he said. “Ever since Stalin they used active measures to influence the United States.”
[Primary 2020: Here’s when early voting starts in your Central Florida county]
Dreeke retired in 2018 and has authored several books including, “Sizing People Up” what he calls a user manual for behavior prediction based on his years in the field.
When asked if he felt Russia had a preference between President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders he gave a one-word response: “No.”
“I don’t think it’s a focus on the election,” Dreeke said. “It’s a focus on sewing distrust so that we question our infrastructure.”
The issue of hacking has triggered a sweeping effort to reinforce the integrity of Florida’s voting system.
Orange County’s Supervisor of Elections, Bill Cowles said the infrastructure is not vulnerable to Russian hackers because when it comes to your ballot: “Florida is all paper all the time.”
“The results are very accurate because you cannot change a vote on a piece of paper,“ Cowles said. “The voting machine is not connected to the internet.”
Cowles said the county’s voter registration database and tabulation systems are on separate servers and that the tabulated data will represent the true presidential primary election results on March 17.
If the numbers don’t add up the paper ballots are there to double-check.
Early voting continues through March 15.
For more information, visit .ocfelections.com/early-voting
Check your county’s supervisor of elections’ website to get information on precinct locations and wait times.