Philip Ewing

Philip Ewing is an election security editor with NPR's Washington Desk. He helps oversee coverage of election security, voting, disinformation, active measures and other issues. Ewing joined the Washington Desk from his previous role as NPR's national security editor, in which he helped direct coverage of the military, intelligence community, counterterrorism, veterans and more. He came to NPR in 2015 from Politico, where he was a Pentagon correspondent and defense editor. Previously, he served as managing editor of, and before that he covered the U.S. Navy for the Military Times newspapers.

Foreign interference is a very old problem, but most Americans didn't used to worry much about it and the security of elections.

Now, lessons learned about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election have brought the most intense focus ever on the U.S. information environment, elections practices, voter databases and other parts of the infrastructure of democracy.

Updated on Oct. 23 at 5:47 a.m. ET

Active Russian cyberattacks are targeting a wide swath of American government networks, including those involved with the ongoing election, federal authorities revealed Thursday.

Updated at 1:01 p.m. ET

Government agencies and political actors across the country remain vulnerable to a spoof email scam like the one blamed on Iran by the U.S. spy boss, cyber-analysts said.

Updated at 8:33 p.m. ET

Iranian influence specialists are behind threatening emails sent to voters in Alaska and Florida, U.S. officials said on Wednesday evening and suggested that more such interference could be in store from Russia.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the U.S. intelligence community believes Iranian and Russian operatives obtained voter-record information, which enabled Iran to target some people with intimidating emails based on party registration about how they'd better vote for President Trump "or else."

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed charges against six alleged Russian government hackers on Monday and said they were behind a rash of recent cyberattacks — from damaging Ukraine's electrical grid to interfering in France's election to spying on European investigations and more.

The men work for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU — which also led Russian cyber-interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Justice Department officials said Moscow has only sustained or heightened its intensity of effort since then.

Democrats opposed the current Supreme Court confirmation process even before they knew Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be President Trump's nominee.

Republicans reneged on their earlier stance not to consider a Supreme Court vacancy ahead of an election, Democrats have argued, and they say the choice to do so will damage the Senate's credibility and that of the high court.

In a less sedate, less distinguished and deliberative body than the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans would be high-fiving and turning cartwheels over Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Instead they've been doing that only with their rhetoric, heaping her with praise and defending her in ripostes following what the majority members sometimes called inappropriate attacks by Democrats.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, summarized what he called Democrats' fears about Barrett pre-judging issues or cases in the fourth day of the hearing on Thursday: "That's just absurd!"

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he could only find a single case in which Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett didn't follow the precedent of her 7th Circuit Court of Appeals — and that was one in which the Supreme Court itself had established a new doctrine, he said.

Crapo ticked through a series of statistics on Wednesday during a portion of the hearing in which he tried to puncture what he called Democrats' implications that Barrett, notwithstanding her emphasis about "textualism," might actually prove to be a more activist member of the Supreme Court.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D.-R.I., urged Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett to contemplate — and possibly act to end — a number of practices he called damaging to the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.

Whitehouse, who used his time in Tuesday's hearing to lay out what he called the connections between dark-money groups and legal advocates that have helped support the revolution in the federal judiciary under President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made a simpler argument on Wednesday.

Democrats are litigating Judge Amy Coney Barrett's record and outlook on voting as the Senate Judiciary Committee wraps up her three days in the spotlight this week.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said she worried about Barrett's longtime closeness with Justice Antonin Scalia in view of Scalia's antipathy toward the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court partly dismantled in a 2013 ruling.

Republicans control the Senate and they are in lockstep behind Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which means they don't need to convince one another, or any Democrats, about supporting her.

That left members free Tuesday on the second day of her confirmation hearing to digress, as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did, from a sharply argued indictment of Democrats, whom he accused of abandoning democracy, to pleasant get-to-know-you questions with Barrett about whether she plays an instrument (the piano) or speaks a foreign language.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett acknowledged on Tuesday that she would at least evaluate the case for recusing herself if a dispute involving the outcome of the presidential election reached the high court this year.

Barrett told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. that she couldn't state anything before the fact about what she might do — but she did concede that there could be a situation in which she might review those protocols and evaluate recusal, then decide.

Democrats are putting a new twist on an old game Tuesday in the second day of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings.

In a traditional hearing, members of Congress ask the nominee questions about cases or issues and the nominee tries as much as possible to avoid answering them. Barrett, as so many of her predecessors did, is offering broad guidelines and general statements but trying to avoid committing to anything specific.

Republicans condemned what they called inappropriate criticism and questioning about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's Catholic identity as her confirmation hearing opened on Monday. Democrats did not bring up her faith in Monday's hearing.

Barrett is a devout Catholic, alumna of Notre Dame and member of a small, conservative faith group called the People of Praise.

Republicans already have all but won the battle to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court thanks to their control of the Senate, but used Monday's confirmation hearing to stress the importance of a judiciary free from political interference and to defend Barrett against attacks on her religion, even as Democrats avoided the topic.