Headlines are warning us about Russian “mischief” in the U.S. elections. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence have said they are confident that the Russian government is behind hacks into US email accounts and that cyber-probes of some state election systems may also be traced to Russia. A group of prominent national security and defense experts has predicted that Russian hackers will use the stolen emails to build credibility, then leak fake documents in order to manipulate voters’ opinions and, possibly, choices at the ballot box. These cyber-espionage and disinformation campaigns sound like the stuff of spy novels, except they’re real. What’s going on?
Laura Jewett is NDI’s regional director for Eurasia. She joined the Institute in 1994 and had served as the Eurasia team’s deputy director for 10 years. In the region, NDI is currently conducting programs to strengthen civil society and support multiparty democracy in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Ms. Jewett has traveled extensively in Eurasia, meeting with political, civic and government leaders to assess political conditions and design democracy assistance programs. Ms. Jewett earned her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, where her research focused on political party development in post-Soviet Russia. Before joining NDI, Ms. Jewett served in Washington on the staffs of U.S. Representative Bill Ratchford and U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, both of Connecticut.