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 SchiffThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Democratic lawmaker: Mueller testimony 'doesn't have to go beyond' report to be 'really damning' for Trump 'Fox & Friends' co-host: 'I don't think' Mueller knows the details of Mueller report MORE (D-Calif.) warned that foreign and domestic actors could “wreak havoc” with the technology during elections.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 CoatsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions CNN's Jake Tapper repeatedly presses Pence on whether he thinks climate change is a threat Hillicon Valley: Tim Cook visits White House | House hearing grapples with deepfake threat | Bill, Melinda Gates launch lobbying group | Tech turns to K-Street in antitrust fight | Lawsuit poses major threat to T-Mobile, Sprint merger 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.