U.S. and European governments have failed to effectively respond to growing threats from Russia and elsewhere to meddle in elections, according to former officials including former Vice President Joe Biden who say they’re going to help close that gap. More than 20 elections in North America and Europe over the next two years will provide ‘’fertile ground’’ for interference like that seen during the U.S. presidential election in 2016, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters Friday in Washington. “We’re at a stage now that it’s important to make sure we have a well-rounded exploration of the ups and downs of various policy choices, but that we also treat this with some urgency — we have elections this year,” said Chertoff, who’s co-chairman of the new Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO Secretary General and Danish prime minister.
The group, which plans its first meeting in Copenhagen on June 21-22, stemmed from a call Rasmussen made to Biden after the former U.S. vice president said last year that there should be a review of the 2016 Russian meddling. Rasmussen said he told Biden that it’s a European problem too. Among the other veteran officials in the group are former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Nick Clegg, the former U.K. deputy prime minister.
The group aims to conduct studies on how to better reduce risks to elections from Russian cyber threats, including looking at new technologies, and share their findings with governments. Microsoft Corp. is providing the commission with technical expertise and $300,000 in funds. Rasmussen said other ‘’seed’’ funding has come from his consulting company, and the group will continue to raise money to back its work.