Trump signs order to punish foreign meddlers in US votes
Published : Thursday, 13 September, 2018 at 9:28 AM Count : 270
US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats says officials are "taking nothing for granted" regarding election meddling.
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order authorising sanctions against any countries or individuals found interfering in US elections.
The order instructs the intelligence community to monitor and report on attempts to disrupt election infrastructure as well as propaganda, BBC reports.
The directive itself is not a sanction, but imposes bans or restrictions on suspected culprits.
Mr Trump has been criticised for his response to alleged Russian meddling.
There is some frustration among lawmakers that Mr Trump's executive order could undercut congressional efforts to deter any election meddling in the US by foreign powers, according to CBS News.
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 US politics, US media reported.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the directive was in response to alleged Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election.
It is understood that Russia is not mentioned by name in the text, but US officials named that country along with China, North Korea and Iran as most likely to try to sway US elections.
"We're taking nothing for granted here," Mr Coats said.