July 27, 2018 / 2:44 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. moves to defend elections, thwart influence campaigns: Mattis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is taking steps to defend its upcoming elections and to thwart efforts by foreign actors to influence the American people, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday, without detailing what those efforts were.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on funding for the Department of Defense, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

“Rest assured there are actions underway to protect our elections or to expose any external – any, by anybody - external efforts to influence the American public,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, citing the example of planting false news reports. “But I’m not going to go into any details.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has warned that Russia and other foreign entities were likely to attack U.S. and European elections this year and beyond, adding Moscow believes similar efforts successfully undermined U.S. democracy two years ago.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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