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Rep. Stewart hosts national security summit in Salt Lake

(Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – What are the nation’s biggest security threats?  Intelligence and security officials from all over the country came to Salt Lake City to focus on what they believe the country should be most concerned about.

The United States officially withdrew from the decades-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement, also known as the INF Treaty, Friday.  That agreement restricted nuclear launches from both countries.  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy believes that was the right decision.

“I don’t consider it [as] us pulling out of the INF Treaty.  I consider it Russia never abiding by it.  America was becoming less safe.  The world was becoming less safe,” McCarthy says.

Nuclear weapons were not the only topic of discussion during Representative Chris Stewart’s Security Summit, held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  When Stewart was asked what the biggest security risk may be in the future, he responded that advancing technology from other countries could be a serious problem.

“We’re seeing this intersection, now, of technology and security that we’ve never really seen before,” Stewart says, adding, “As one example of that, there’s the ability for artificial intelligence to not only change a conversation on national security, but to change our intelligence and the raw data we’re looking at.”

He cited deep fake videos, which look extremely real and can fool people into believing an elected official did or said things that they hadn’t.  Stewart says the experts can spot the differences, but only with a lot of high-tech analysis.

During a speech at the summit, Stewart stated that many Americans don’t know what’s true and what’s false, which is especially problematic in a time when there’s a lot of distrust between people and the media, and distrust of congress.  So, many people end up not believing anything.

However, even with all of the potential problems the US could face in the future, McCarthy says there are still reasons to be optimistic about the country’s security.

“America is stronger today than we’ve been in any other time.  We’re more prosperous.  We’re better prepared,” McCarthy says.