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 Military.com, and before that he covered the U.S. Navy for the Military Times newspapers.

The greatest peril posed to American elections is that the cloud of fear and uncertainty about them will cause citizens to stop believing they matter, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress on Thursday.

Wray was asked in a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about his No. 1 concern as the FBI and other agencies work to quash the manifold foreign threats posed to this and future elections. He said the worst danger isn't something within the power of a foreign government.

The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security condemned acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf's failure to appear in response to a subpoena on Thursday.

The empty chair at the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday can't answer members' questions about the recent goings-on within the Department of Homeland Security.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf rejected a subpoena to appear, but DHS says acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli was prepped in his place.

Peter Strzok omits a few important things from his new memoir, Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump.

Strzok, one of the most notorious FBI officials in history, wants to rehabilitate himself. But he leaves out parts of the story about which most readers probably are most curious — including his relationship with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Strzok and Page carried on an extramarital affair even as they worked at the core of some of the FBI's biggest cases.

Two secret wars are underway simultaneously over attack and defense of the 2020 presidential election. This week, each one broke into the open again.

The first war is an intelligence and national security operation aimed at protecting American election infrastructure, political campaigns and the U.S. information environment from foreign interference. The second one is a political struggle over how much Americans learn about the first.

Updated at 3:07 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy backed off planned changes to the Postal Service on Tuesday that critics had worried might threaten voting by mail this year, but Democrats say they aren't satisfied and want more answers.

Michigan's Gary Peters, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee that had scheduled a hearing with DeJoy on Friday to discuss the planned Postal Service changes, said he wants the session to go ahead and he wants to press DeJoy about what led to this flap.

Americans have the most detailed accounting they've ever received in real time about foreign efforts to interfere in a U.S. election — but, for the public at least, there are still as many questions as answers.

The U.S. intelligence community has made good on earlier promises to release some findings and assessments on foreign interference, including with a historic report last week from the nation's top boss of counterintelligence.

President Trump's allies in the Senate are set to resume a public investigation on Wednesday that aims to tie former Vice President Joe Biden with what Republicans call abuses of power.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wants to question former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates about her actions and those of the Justice Department and FBI as President Barack Obama's era closed and Trump's began.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday mused about delaying this year's election based on unsupported conspiracy theorizing about the integrity of voting during the coronavirus disaster.

Trump used a Twitter post to repeat what has become a pet theme about what he calls the prospect of inaccuracies or fraud with mail-in voting.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr puts the founding principles of the Justice Department "more at risk than at any time in modern history," the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee charged on Tuesday.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., excoriated Barr because he said the attorney general sought conflict with Americans at an unprecedented scale, including via federal law enforcement crackdowns, and has created what Nadler called a special reserve of justice for the well-connected.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET

Four years after Russian election interference rattled and embarrassed national Democrats, the party has gone on offense over what it fears are more schemes targeting this year's presidential race.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Democratic leaders in the Congress asked the FBI for an all-lawmaker briefing on Monday about foreign election interference efforts that may be targeting the legislature this year.

The brazen security compromise at Twitter this week underscored the broad and lingering vulnerabilities of U.S. elections to sophisticated cyberattacks.

A number of accounts of political, technology and business figures were captured apparently from within Twitter's own systems — as opposed to via individual attacks against the end users — and the social network's response included silencing nearly all of its highest-profile users for a time.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper never received a briefing about alleged Russian practices against U.S. troops in Afghanistan that included the term "bounty," he told Congress on Thursday.

Esper said so in an answer to a carefully worded question from Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who appeared to be aware about how to cue Esper, potentially from the lawmaker's own awareness of the still-secret underlying intelligence about the Russian allegations.

"To the best of my recollection, I have not received a briefing that included the word 'bounty,' " Esper said.

Updated at 9:51 p.m. ET

Members of Congress in both parties demanded answers on Monday about reported bounties paid by Russian operatives to Afghan insurgents for targeting American troops.

The stories appeared to have taken even the most senior lawmakers off guard, and they said they wanted briefings soon from the Defense Department and the intelligence community.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Justice Department witnesses told House lawmakers on Wednesday they've observed political interference in big cases, including those involving a friend of President Trump's.

Two currently serving lawyers appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to detail their concerns, which were revealed Tuesday in written testimony they prepared ahead of time.

Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in Washington ordered a lower court judge to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday.

That ruling followed earlier arguments by Flynn's attorneys that the matter had become moot after both they and the Justice Department asked for the case to be dropped.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Friday

The picnic that is political life in Washington seldom encounters a skunk of the magnitude of John Bolton.

He was a centerpiece of the establishment, and now President Trump and Republicans have rejected him as a turncoat.

Democrats, never fond of his worldview, now despise him as never before.

Foreign influence-mongers are altering their tactics in response to changes in the practices of the big social media platforms since the 2016 election, three Big Tech representatives told House Democrats on Thursday.

Leaders from Facebook, Twitter and Google told the House Intelligence Committee that their practices have prompted hostile nations to make some of their information operations less clandestine and more overt than they have in recent years.

Updated at 9:33 p.m. ET

President Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he endorsed Beijing's now-infamous archipelago of prison camps for minority Uighurs, John Bolton writes in his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened.

The former national security adviser quotes U.S. officials who took part in Trump's meetings with their Chinese counterparts.

Republicans and Democrats seldom agree on much in 21st century politics — but one issue that divides them more than ever may be voting and elections.

The parties didn't only battle about whether or how to enact new legislation following the Russian interference in the 2016 election. They also differ in the basic ways they perceive and frame myriad aspects of practicing democracy.

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

Members of Congress put themselves on a collision course with the White House on Thursday over the politics of America's Confederate legacy.

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment that would create a commission charged with renaming Army installations that bear Confederate names and removing their Confederate symbols.

A bipartisan team of House members, both veterans, proposed something similar.

Updated at 4:09 p.m. ET

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday that if he knew then what he knows now, he would not have signed his now-infamous application to continue surveillance on an ex-junior aide to Donald Trump.

Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he relied on lower-level investigators and attorneys to do the right thing in preparing applications for the secret court that authorizes surveillance on Americans.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

The United States is rescinding a number of special considerations for Hong Kong in retaliation for what Washington calls a naked power grab by China's central government.

President Trump announced a suite of changes Friday in what had been billed as a press conference but which turned out to be an on-camera statement, after which he took no questions.

Updated at 6:07 p.m. ET

The Senate sought to strengthen some protections for those targeted by government surveillance on Thursday with the passage of an amended bill that now faces an uncertain outlook.

Senators voted 80-16 to reauthorize lapsed provisions of the now-notorious Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and also revise some aspects of how it can be used by the Justice Department and the FBI.

In the final days of the Obama administration, someone leaked a key nugget of information to The Washington Post about Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser.

Then, since and today, Trump and Republicans have argued that was an abuse of power and a breach of the law, one that, in their view, needlessly cost Flynn his reputation, his liberty and a fortune in legal fees.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

Former Vice President Joe Biden is on a list of names provided to Senate Republicans by a sympathetic spy boss in connection with the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

That was the latest twist in a years-long saga that changed course again this week following action by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who declassified the names of a number of people who requested intelligence information in the final days of the Obama administration.

The judge handling the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is asking for opinions about what he should do now that the Justice Department wants to drop its prosecution of Flynn.

Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order on Tuesday soliciting "friend of the court" briefs but did not address the government's reversal or suggest when he might.

Sophisticated fake media hasn't emerged as a factor in the disinformation wars in the ways once feared — and two specialists say it may have missed its moment.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to serve as America's top spy vowed on Tuesday to operate independently in response to bipartisan questions as to whether he could keep politics out of intelligence work.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., assured both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that if confirmed as director of national intelligence, he would not apply a partisan filter to reporting, shade conclusions to please Trump, or apply inappropriate tests to workers in the intelligence community.

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