Putin's postmodern war with the West; disinformation vaccination; firewalling democracy, and more | Homeland Security Newswire

The Russia watchPutin's postmodern war with the West; disinformation vaccination; firewalling democracy, and more

Published 1 February 2018

· Putin’s postmodern war with the West

· Firewalling democracy: Federal inaction on a national security priority

· Twitter has notified at least 1.4 million users that they saw Russian propaganda during the election

· The disinformation vaccination

· Fear and loathing in Russia’s Catalonia: Moscow’s fight against federalism

· What was Russia’s spy chief doing in Washington last week? Probably playing the Trump administration … again.

· Keeping DOJ and FBI safe from a partisan president and Congress

· Why the Russia probe demolished one lobbying firm but spared another

· Electronic warfare trumps cyber for deterring Russia

Putin’s postmodern war with the West (Patryk Babiracki, Wilson Quarterly)
It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.

Firewalling democracy: Federal inaction on a national security priority (Francis X. Taylor, The Hill)
January marked the first anniversary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s designation of elections as “critical infrastructure,” placing them into the category of other physical or virtual sectors — such as food, water and energy — considered so crucial that their protection is necessary to our national security. Naming “elections” as a critical infrastructure sub-sector was a key action taken by then-Secretary Jeh Johnson following an Intelligence Community report about ways Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 elections via a variety of hacking tactics aimed at election offices, voter databases and our larger digital democracy. The announcement reflected a new reality that election security is national security — and it provided enhanced capabilities for the feds to coordinate on election cyber threats. However, since that optimistic moment 13 months ago, there has been unwillingness at the highest levels of the federal government to act.

Twitter has notified at least 1.4 million users that they saw Russian propaganda during the election (Tont Romm, Recode)
And that may be just a fraction of the total users who saw Kremlin disinformation in 2016.

The disinformation vaccination (Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Quarterly)
While many have woken up to the realities of Russian disinformation, responding to Moscow and censuring social media cannot be the end of the story. Instead, the U.S. should take a long, hard look in the mirror and invest in its own citizens.

Fear and loathing in Russia’s Catalonia: Moscow’s fight against federalism (Kamil Galeev, War on the Rocks)
“It is unacceptable to force a man to learn a language that is not his own,” said Vladimir Putin on July 20, 2017. With these words, Putin began the toughest crackdown on Russia’s ethnic republics since the founding of the Soviet Union. He apparently aims to destroy the very raison d’etre of the republics, effectively reducing them to ordinary Russian provinces.

What was Russia’s spy chief doing in Washington last week? Probably playing the Trump administration … again. (Amy Knight, Daily Beast)
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Sergei Naryshkin came just before Trump punted new sanctions and issued a useless ‘oligarch’ list. What message did he bring from Moscow?

Keeping DOJ and FBI safe from a partisan president and Congress (Michael Hayden, Cipher Brief)

The White House is deciding whether to make public a classified memo on the Russia investigation penned by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The memo claims the FBI and Justice Department broke the rules when they attempted to extend surveillance on someone identified in press accounts as a member of the Trump presidential campaign. From the outside looking in, everything about this seems wrong. The memo is a highly partisan document, approved only by the Republicans on the House Intelligence committee, and there is no window for publicly airing dissenting interpretations by the committee’s Democrats.

Why the Russia probe demolished one lobbying firm but spared another (Theodoric Meyer, Politico)
The Podesta Group was under pressures that Mercury did not face.

Electronic warfare trumps cyber for deterring Russia (Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense)
Russian electronic warfare (EW) forces are numerous, well-equipped, well-coordinated with other combat arms like air defense and artillery, and above all honed by years of electronic combat — all things their U.S. Army counterparts are not. That makes it “more vital and pressing” to rebuild western electronic warfare than to build up new capabilities in cyber warfare, CSIS’s Roger McDermott writes. Ironically, McDermott’s study was sponsored in part by the Estonian government, which has focused on cyber ever since Russian hackers took down its internet in 2007.