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Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Delivers Remarks at the Election Threats Task Force Meeting


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Delivered

Good afternoon, everyone.

The Department of Justice has no more important mission than keeping our communities safe.

And that includes those who work to ensure we can exercise our basic rights — the most fundamental of which is the right to vote.

It is, after all, the right that secures all our other rights.

The Election Threats Task Force plays a key role in that mission, and it reflects the critical collaboration needed to combat threats to election officials.

Together, you’ve prosecuted a series of important and demanding cases, making clear that we will not tolerate threats to our democratic process and to the election workers who serve and safeguard it.

A particularly disturbing trend across these cases is the way perpetrators use new technologies to mask their identities and communicate their threats.

Not that long ago, when a criminal wanted to convey a threat, they only had a couple options: a pen and paper — maybe a telephone. Later, a text message or an email.

But today, criminals use a range of anonymizing technology — not just burner phones and social media, but onion routers, VoIP platforms, and overseas internet service providers.

This isn’t just limited to threats to election workers, it extends to other crimes involving intimidation and hoaxes, like swatting.

Now, some criminals may believe that these new technologies enable them to act with impunity.

But — they would be wrong.

Because as criminal tools get more sophisticated, so do our investigations.

Working with experienced investigators at FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Postal Inspection Service, we’re unmasking these criminals and holding them to account.

Over the past several years, our democratic process and the public servants who protect it have been under attack like never before, as threats evolve and spread.   

They’re being supercharged by advanced technologies — the most disruptive of which is artificial intelligence — emboldening those threatening election workers and the integrity of our elections.

These advanced tools are providing:

  • New avenues for wrongdoers to hide their identities and obscure sources of violent threats;
  • New avenues to misinform and threaten voters through deepfakes that contain altered video or cloned audio, impersonating trusted voices; and
  • New avenues to recruit and radicalize with incendiary social media content and online harassment and hate.

As these crimes mutate with technology, they may be easier to hide and cheaper to perpetrate — but they are still crimes.

Violent threats using AI are still violent threats.

So, in these cases, where threat actors use advanced technology — like artificial intelligence — to make crimes more dangerous and more impactful, the Department of Justice will seek enhanced sentences.

Election workers are on the front lines of this threat-accelerated landscape, and the Election Threats Task Force will continue to pursue and hold accountable those who threaten these public servants, their families, and the functioning of our democratic process.

As I stated when we launched this Task Force nearly three years ago: a threat to any election official, worker, or volunteer is, at bottom, a threat to democracy.

I know the Election Threats Task Force is adapting to the threats and will meet these new challenges head on.

Thank you all once again – for your work to protect our democracy and to keep election workers safe.

Civil Rights
National Security
Voting and Elections
Updated May 13, 2024