(CNSNews.com) – Do you expect Russia to amplify its interference in future U.S. elections? Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) asked FBI Director James Comey on Monday as he testified before the House intelligence committee on Monday.
They’ll be back,” Comey responded:
They’ll be back in 2020, they may be back in 2018. And one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful, because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process.
It’s possible they’re misreading that as, it worked. And so we’ll come back and hit them again in 2020. I don’t know, but I think we have to assume they’re coming back.
National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, testifying alongside Comey, said the Russians’ believe their interference in the 2016 U.S. election “generated a positive outcome for them, in the sense of calling into question the democratic process.”
Both Comey and Rogers said the Russians made no effort to hide their intervention in the 2016 election:
The Russians were “unusually loud in their intervention” last year, Comey said. “It’s almost as if they didn’t care that we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us to see what they were doing. It was very noisy.”
To counter the Russians, Comey said the government alerted people who had been victims of hacking to give them a chance to “tighten their systems to see if they couldn’t kick the Russian actors out.”
Comey also noted that the Obama administration issued a statement in October, letting the American people know what the Russians were doing.
“Why didn’t they mind being found out?” Ros-Lehtinen asked.
Comey responded that the Russians’ number one mission is to undermine the credibility of the United States democratic system.
“So it might be they wanted us to help them by telling people what they were doing.” He said the Russians may have been counting on the U.S. to “amplify…what we saw and freaking people out about how the Russians might be undermining our elections successfully.
“So that might be part of their plan. I don’t know for sure.”