Intel to examine deepfake videos in hearing

The House Intelligence Committee is planning to hold a hearing in the coming months that will examine a series of national security matters, including the threat of videos manipulated by artificial intelligence that look strikingly real, according to a committee aide.

Warnings about the disinformation threat of these so-called deepfakes are growing louder ahead of the 2020 election, but Congress remains in the early stages of pressing the intelligence community to examine the threat.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOn The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report Pelosi, Dems struggle to find unity in Mueller response MORE (D-Calif.) warned that foreign and domestic actors could “wreak havoc” with the technology during elections.

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“Now with deepfake technology, the Russians can push out fake audio or fake video that is indistinguishable from being real. They can make candidates for office say things they’ve never said,” Schiff told The Hill.

Schiff said one of his chief concerns in 2016 was whether WikiLeaks added forged documents to the authentic ones it published after emails were stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

He said faked videos could be “far more debilitating,” and even have “an election-altering impact.”

The expected hearing before the House panel comes after top U.S. intelligence officials including Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsJordan, Meadows press intelligence chief on House Intel Russia probe transcripts Overnight Energy: John Kerry hits Trump over climate change at hearing | Defends Ocasio-Cortez from GOP attacks | Dems grill EPA chief over auto emissions rollback plan Kerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill MORE testified before Congress earlier this year that hostile foreign actors are expected to try to weaponize deepfakes to sow discord and breed doubt.

“Adversaries and strategic competitors probably will attempt to use deep fakes or similar machine-learning technologies to create convincing—but false—image, audio, and video files to augment influence campaigns directed against the United States and our allies and partners,” reads the intelligence community’s 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, which was released in January.