The Russia watchLimiting foreign influence; Meet the pro-Putin YouTube diva; World Cup snooping, and more

Published 13 June 2018

· Will the Supreme Court’s understanding of the First Amendment thwart laws aimed at limiting foreign influence in U.S. elections?

· U.S. announces more sanctions over Russian hacking

· Pro-Trump author says CIA has plan to kill the president

· Meet the pro-Putin YouTube diva “bigger” than Rihanna

· Spy bosses modify England players phones to beat Russian cyber threat: Footballers are briefed on how to · protect themselves at World Cup

· After 2016 Russian hack attempts on Pa. voter data, registration system to be audited

· Russian elites met with NRA in lead-up to 2016 election: report

Will the Supreme Court’s understanding of the First Amendment thwart laws aimed at limiting foreign influence in U.S. elections? (Richard L. Hansen, Just Security)
By now everyone is familiar with attempts by the Russian government and others to interfere in U.S. elections. They hacked into at least 21 state voter registration databases, though there is no evidence they changed any data there or affected any voting or vote counting. Numerous Russian officials tried to gain influence over the Trump campaign, including though an offer to the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., of dirt on opponent Hillary Clinton. And there were the Russian-funded social media campaigns, some of which spread falsehoods, and others of which just tried to stir up the muck by posting on both sides of divisive issues like immigration, Black Lives Matter/police violence and gay rights. Understandably, Congress and states are considering whether existing laws are sufficient to proscribe illegal foreign influence in our elections, or if new legislation is necessary. In this post, I want to call attention to perhaps the greatest impediment to effective limits on foreign influence on our elections: the United States Supreme Court.

U.S. announces more sanctions over Russian hacking (Alfred Ng, C|Net)
The Treasury Department takes aim at companies and people who have helped with cyberattacks coming out of Russia.

Pro-Trump author says CIA has plan to kill the president (Ronald Radosh, Daily Beast)
Jerome Corsi, the old 2004 Swiftboater, is back with a new theory about how far the ‘deep state’ will go to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency. We bet you can guess what it is.

Meet the pro-Putin YouTube diva “bigger” than Rihanna (Agata Popeda, Coda Story)
A Russian-born New Zealander has become one of the Kremlin’s most prolific keyboard warriors

Spy bosses modify England players phones to beat Russian cyber threat: Footballers are briefed on how to protect themselves at World Cup (Matt Laton and Sami Mokbel, Daily Mail)
England footballers were briefed by GCHQ on how to protect their personal information and possessions while in Russia. The squad was given guidance on security issues including how to hide their belongings in their hotel rooms.

After 2016 Russian hack attempts on Pa. voter data, registration system to be audited (Gillian McGoldrick, Inquirer)
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Monday that his office will evaluate the security of the state’s voter-registration system, a target of Russian hackers before the 2016 presidential election. Pennsylvania was one of 21 states whose election data were sought by Russian hackers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said last year.

Russian elites met with NRA in lead-up to 2016 election: report (Luis Sanchez, The Hill)
Prominent Russians were in contact with the National Rifle Association (NRA) during the lead-up to the 2016 election, McClatchy reported. The Russians who met with NRA representatives during the 2016 presidential campaign included members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle as well as the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the news outlet.
The report comes as the Justice Department continues its investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin tried to funnel money to the gun group to support President Trump during the 2016 presidential election.