It’s no secret that foreign meddling in American elections has become a central issue in the 2020 election, especially in the wake of several congressional panels and United States intelligence agencies’ assessments that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President Donald Trump win.

Rep. John Delaney (D-Maryland) spoke to uPolitics exclusively about his plan to stop such foreign interferences.

“I would do two things: one is play defense and the other is play offense,” said Delaney. “In terms of playing defense, we have to harden our election systems,” he added, citing the modern technological advances in the voting process and how they must be viewed as “critical national security infrastructure.”

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Delaney also made an analogy to the military’s protection of its intelligence devices and emphasized that all of the elements of the election process must be protected.

“The Delaney administration would overlay a rigorous regime of qualifications for a company to be part of providing elections services to the United States of America so that the system is hardened,” he added.

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Delaney went on to say he believes it is a good sign that Russia was not as successful in its attempt to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections as it was in 2016, partly because U.S. intelligence agencies’ processes of collecting data was more efficient. However, he noted that there remains room for improvement.

“We have to have a cyber-capability that can combat what they’re doing and also offensively take down their capabilities,” he said before adding a specific proposal he came up with that involves forming an entirely new U.S. agency dedicated to cyber-intelligence operations and also saying that sanctions would inevitably form a big part of a punishment on any country that tried to intervene in the American political system.

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“It would have a lot of responsibilities,” Delaney added of the potential agency. “It would involve protecting the commercial aspect of the cyber-infrastructure of this country but it would also be charged with working with out national security departments in thinking about how do we offensively bring down cyber-threats from abroad.”