Note: this piece was originally published in Vox, and features quotes from Checks & Balances member Carrie Cordero.
Preference can be challenging to assess. It can change. It might not be all that strong. Most critically, it does not necessarily mean a country is directly intervening or taking dramatic action to help or hurt a particular candidate.
“There’s a big difference between specific actions taken by a foreign power to interfere in the election and disrupt it and actively undermine the integrity of it, versus preference,” Carrie Cordero, a national and cybersecurity expert at the Center for a New American Security, told me.
This is a US presidential election; Beijing has a preference, but so do Brussels and Mexico City and Tokyo. Allies and adversaries alike are going to have an idea of an outcome they’d like to see based on their own foreign policy, national security, and economic interests. As Cordero said, that’s not the same thing as “taking specific actions using their intelligence services, using their military, cyber capability to actively affect the outcome of our election.”
Read the full piece at Vox.