Russian propaganda machine: Terrifying documentary; Europe & Russian fake news; containing Russia, again, and more | Homeland Security Newswire

The Russia watchRussian propaganda machine: Terrifying documentary; Europe & Russian fake news; containing Russia, again, and more

Published 22 January 2018

· A Sundance filmmaker has made a movie about the Russian propaganda machine, and it is terrifying

· Containing Russia, again: An adversary attacked the United States—it’s time to respond

· Sen. Cardin’s Russia report wants to hold social media companies accountable, but its recommendation falls short

· Investigators are scrutinizing newly uncovered payments by the Russian embassy

· Russian politician who reportedly sent millions to NRA has long history in Spain

· Europe is drowning in Russian fake news

· Facebook to increase fake news safeguards for Italy vote

· Congress has a bill to do something about Russia. It’s up to them now.

· Congressional emails could be the next target for hacks, time to bolster defenses

· Russian hacking group Fancy Bear is back

A Sundance filmmaker has made a movie about the Russian propaganda machine, and it is terrifying (Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post)
A lot of energy has been spent lately trying to decode the false information that state-sponsored Russian entities spread to Americans during the 2016 election cycle. Far less attention has been paid to decoding the false information state-sponsored Russian entities spread to their own people during that time. For example, during the 2016 election, Russian television regularly reported that Hillary Clinton was at death’s door, as though it was a fact as immutable as gravity. Or that Donald Trump had worked his way up from a hardscrabble childhood in Brooklyn. Such are some of the scenes in “Our New President,” a Sundance film composed almost completely of clips from the modern Russian propaganda machine. And it is terrifying.

Containing Russia, again: An adversary attacked the United States—it’s time to respond (Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon, Foreign Affairs)
The United States must respond to Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections by pursuing a strategy of containment. Without a comprehensive response, Russia’s meddling will continue.

Sen. Cardin’s Russia report wants to hold social media companies accountable, but its recommendation falls short (Evelyn Douek, Lawfare)
On Jan. 10, the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a staff report documenting Russia’s “Asymmetric Assault on Democracy.” The document’s focus is, as Anne Applebaum has observed, the permanent, low-level distortion that Russian-inspired disinformation creates in all of the United States’ most important European allies. The report also argues that social media companies need to be held accountable for their role in spreading disinformation. While it is clear that social media platforms are a crucial battleground of modern information warfare, the report does not give much attention to their unique vulnerabilities and the proper role of government in policing content on social media platforms.

Investigators are scrutinizing newly uncovered payments by the Russian embassy (Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier, BuzzFeed)
U.S. authorities are poring over hundreds of newly uncovered payments from Russian diplomatic accounts. Among them are transactions by former ambassador Sergey Kislyak 10 days after the 2016 presidential election and a blocked $150,000 cash withdrawal five days after the inauguration.

Russian politician who reportedly sent millions to NRA has long history in Spain (Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica)
Spanish authorities were poised to arrest Alexander Torshin in a money-laundering case in 2013 when he mysteriously canceled his trip to Spain.

Europe is drowning in Russian fake news (Tim Hume, Vice)
The European Union is failing to counter Russia’s “extremely successful” disinformation campaigns, the European Commission’s security chief warned Wednesday. Julian King told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg they had identified 3,500 examples of “pro-Kremlin disinformation contradicting publicly-available Facebook to increase fake news safeguards for Italy votele facts.”

Facebook to increase fake news safeguards for Italy vote (Chiara Albanese and Daniele Lepido, Bloomberg)
Facebook Inc. is intensifying scrutiny of its pages to root out bogus news reports and other attempts to interfere with Italy’s general election in March.

Congress has a bill to do something about Russia. It’s up to them now. (Editorial Board, Washington Post)
The results of a special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election will not be known for some time, but one fact is well established: The regime of Vladi­mir Putin tried to sway the results of the presidential vote. Moreover, it is likely to mount similar operations in 2018 and 2020. In that sense, the most damaging aspect of President Trump’s behavior on Russia may not be his attempts to discredit the work of Robert S. Mueller III — which so far have had scant effect — but his utter disregard of the continuing threat from Moscow.

Congressional emails could be the next target for hacks, time to bolster defenses (Joel Wallenstrom, The Hill)
Less than 300 days away from the 2018 midterm elections, we are now learning that “Fancy Bear,” one of the Russian hacking groups that breached the Democratic Party in 2016, has since been probing U.S. Senators and their staff to steal data through their email accounts.

Russian hacking group Fancy Bear is back (Jeff Nesbit, U.S. News)
One of two groups linked to attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the U.S. Senate and the Winter Olympics