WASHINGTON (`) – The Biden administration on Friday appointed a CIA official to coordinate the intelligence community’s response to election threats from Russia, China and other opponents.
Jeffrey Wichman has been appointed executive director on election threats by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, said Nicole de Haay, a spokeswoman for Haines. Wichman has been with the CIA for more than 30 years in top positions in counterintelligence and cybersecurity, de Haay said. His appointment was first reported by the New York Times.
The appointment comes amid stalled efforts to create a new intelligence center that will prevent foreign interference in American democracy. While experts and intelligence officials say the proposed Foreign Malignant Influence Center is needed, the intelligence community and Congress have not agreed on the center’s size and budget.
The Election Threats Executive is responsible for coordinating all election security efforts across the 18-strong intelligence community, which includes agencies that detect and deter cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and efforts to influence politicians and policy debates.
Former executive Shelby Pierson took the spotlight after briefing lawmakers behind closed doors on Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2020 election in favor of former President Donald Trump. This angered Trump, who berated the then Director of National Intelligence and later replaced him.
Pierson has since taken on another intelligence post.
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