America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference
"This pioneering and judicious history of foreign intervention in elections should be read by everyone who wants to defend democracy now." --Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny
The definitive account of covert operations to influence elections from the Cold War to 2016, why the threat to American democracy is greater than ever in 2020, and what we can do about it.
Russia's interference in 2016 marked only the latest chapter of a hidden and revelatory history. In Rigged, David Shimer tells the sweeping story of covert electoral interference past and present. He exposes decades of secret operations--by the KGB, the CIA, and Vladimir Putin's Russia--to shape electoral outcomes, melding deep historical research with groundbreaking interviews with more than 130 key players, from leading officials in both the Trump and Obama administrations, to CIA and NSA directors, to a former KGB general.
What Americans should make of Russia's attack in 2016 is still hotly debated, even after the Mueller report and years of media coverage. Shimer shows that Putin's operation was, in fact, a continuation of an ongoing struggle, using familiar weapons radically enhanced by new technology. Throughout history and in 2016, both Russian and American operations achieved their greatest success by influencing the way voters think, rather than tampering with actual vote tallies.
Casting aside partisanship and sensationalism, Rigged reveals new details about what Russia achieved in 2016, how the Obama administration responded, and why Putin has also been interfering covertly in elections across the globe in recent years, while American presidents have largely refrained from doing so. Shimer also makes disturbingly clear that this type of intrusion can be used to harm Democrats and Republicans alike. Russia's central aim is to undermine and disrupt our democracy, to the detriment of all Americans.
Understanding 2016 as one battle in a much longer war is essential to understanding the critical threat currently posed to America's electoral sovereignty and how to defend against it. Illuminating how the lessons of the past can be used to protect our democracy in the future, Rigged is an essential book for readers of every political persuasion.