Commentary August 4, 2020

How Might the Sleeper Agents From “The Americans” Interfere in the Election?

As the November 2020 presidential election approaches, it is worth imagining how a foreign adversary might attempt to intervene in the domestic political process.
Photo of a man
KGB agent Philip Jennings from FX's "The Americans." Dwight Canons, https://flic.kr/p/eqPm67; CC BY-ND 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As the November 2020 presidential election approaches, it is worth imagining how a foreign adversary might attempt to intervene in the domestic political process. We have no evidence that any of the precise things we consider in this essay are actually happening—though some may well be. They are based on a review of what we know to be possible and plausible given what has occurred in the past and the vulnerabilities we can see clearly today. We don’t make specific assertions about the likelihood of any of these efforts or the probability of any having a meaningful effect.

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