Sen Warner: US 'absolutely' better prepared against foreign election meddling in midterms

Key Points
  • "Absolutely we're better off" to deal with election meddling, says Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
  • However, our potential adversaries are also getting better, he says.
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The U.S. is better prepared to deal with foreign election meddling this November, but the threats may also get worse, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told CNBC on Wednesday.

With midterms just a couple of months away, there has been concern over a repeat of the foreign interference seen in the 2016 presidential election.

"Absolutely we're better off. But our potential adversaries are also getting better," said Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Earlier this month, the leaders of four U.S. intelligence agencies warned of "pervasive" and "ongoing" threats from foreign actors, including Russia, to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections.

While President Donald Trump has acknowledged Russia interfered in the 2016 election, he insists it did not have an impact on the results.

A January 2017 intelligence community assessment said Russia's efforts to impact the 2016 election showed a "clear preference" for Trump over Hillary Clinton. However, in July Trump claimed Russians will be "pushing very hard" for Democrats to win elections in the November midterms, asserting "They definitely don't want Trump!"

Warner said the problem of attempted election interference will be around for a long time.

"We're just seeing the first generation," he told "Power Lunch."

What may happen next is a cyberattack where hackers get someone's personal information and then provide a live-stream video of a politician, in what's called "deep, fake technology."

"You open it up because it's got your personal data, then you see an image that may not be real," explained Warner, who spent years in the tech industry. Among other things, he co-founded the company that became Nextel.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is holding a hearing next week to address the issue.

"My fear at times is we're buying the world's best 20th century military when much of the conflict in the 21st century may be in cyber and misinformation and disinformation," Warner said.

— CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.