• The Russia connectionTwitter’s massive data release shows the Kremlin’s broad pro-Trump strategy

    Twitter today (Wednesday) released ten million tweets it says represent all of the foreign influence operations on the social media platform, including Russia’s consistent efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and support Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based Kremlin’s troll farm, created 3,400 accounts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign and support Trump. Before helping Trump defeat Clinton, the Kremlin helped Trump secure the GOP nomination by targeting former governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ted Cruz.

  • The Russia connectionPeter Smith met Flynn in 2015

    Peter W. Smith, the GOP operative who raised $100,000 in his search to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from Russian hackers before allegedly killing himself in May 2017, had a well-established business relationship Trump former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Previous reports indicated Smith knew both Flynn and his son well, but on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal explains the backstory behind their connection.

  • The Russia connectionKey takeaways from the Kremlin’s recent interference offensive

    By David Salvo and Bradley Hanlon

    Recent counterintelligence operations by U.K. and Dutch intelligence services, and similar operations by the U.S. and Swiss authorities, have exposed a broad, sustained, and determined Russian effort to undermine Western democracies. The main takeaways from the revelations about these Russian operations: First, the Kremlin uses cyber hacks and other asymmetric tools not only to interfere in elections, but also to execute a number of other objectives. Second, the Kremlin uses various asymmetric tools in conjunction with one another to achieve its objectives. Finally, the Kremlin has authorized its security services to pursue Moscow’s interests with brazen and aggressive vigor.

  • Intelligence & societyAn assault on American intelligence

    By Una Hajdari

    “The veneer of civilization is something that is quite thin,” retired four-star general Michael Hayden said at an MIT presentation. “It has to be protected and nurtured.” The United States was formed on the basis of the ideas of the Enlightenment, he said, with adaptations and improvements being made as societies and “civilization” developed. Since then, those who rejected these ideas represented the negative phenomena in society and were often overpowered by the progressive or forward-thinking mainstream. Now, those who represent the negative segments of society are threatening to become mainstream.

  • The Russia connectionRussian Novichok suspects shadowed Skripal in Prague, report says

    The two Russian men suspected by British intelligence of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England in March shadowed the former double agent in Prague in 2014. Media reports cited unnamed Czech intelligence sources as saying that the Russians — whom cybersleuthing group Bellingcat says it has unmasked as military intelligence officers Anatoly Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin — visited Prague in 2014 and that Skripal was there at the same time. It has also emerged that that Chepiga and Mishkin awarded Hero of the Russian Federation medals by President Vladimir Putin four years ago for conducting covert operations in Ukraine.

  • Truth decayFacing up to truth decay

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That sentiment, once expressed by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, seems to be falling out of fashion in America’s current civil discourse. RAND Corporation’s Michael Rich has dubbed this phenomenon “Truth Decay,” and it is the subject of ongoing research designed to explore what is eroding the public’s trust in facts and institutions—and how to stop the trend.

  • Truth decayDisinformation and fake news on Twitter

    The Knight Foundation has just released a new report — Disinformation, ‘Fake News’, and Influence Campaigns on Twitter – which, among other disturbing findings, shows that despite government efforts taken against those responsible for the misinformation campaigns during the 2016 election, 80 percent of these accounts are still active and still tweeting. Together, they produce about 1 million tweets per day. The study also found that 60 percent of these accounts have evidence they are partially run by bots, and many of the bot-run accounts appear to be connected.

  • Skripal caseSalisbury poisoning suspect named as Russian colonel

    The real identity of one of the two Russians blamed by Britain for the Salisbury nerve-agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is Anatoly Chepiga, the investigative website Bellingcat says, adding that he was a decorated Russian colonel. Earlier this month, British prosecutors charged two Russians — identified as Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov — with attempted murder for carrying out the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the Novichok nerve toxin in the southern English city of Salisbury earlier this year. The prosecutors said the two were undercover officers for Russian military intelligence, the GRU.

  • Election securityRussian election meddling in the U.S. and beyond

    On Thursday 20 September 2018, the US targeted 33 individuals and entities with sanctions over interference in the American Presidential election in 2016. This followed the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russian officials. Previously, 13 Russian citizens as well as the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Concord Catering had been charged with interfering with the U.S. political system.

  • Election securitySecure Election Act will not be ready before midterms

    Senator James Lankford (R-OK) said Tuesday the Secure Elections Act, bipartisan legislation designed “to protect elections from cyberattacks,” won’t be ready before November. Last month’s Senate committee mark-up was abruptly postponed by Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) over a lack of Republican support and objections by some secretaries of state and the White House.

  • SpiesU.S. looking to place more spies worldwide

    The U.S. premier spy agency is looking to expand its presence around the globe in order to eliminate so-called “intelligence gaps” and take on the growing threat from major powers like Russia and China. CIA Director Gina Haspel on Monday called the shift from counterterrorism back to more traditional espionage against nation-states “a strategic priority,” saying the need to get better intelligence on current and potential U.S. rivals is among “the hardest issues” facing the spy agency.

  • Truth decayHow to fight information manipulations: 50 recommendations

    French government think tanks have issued 50 recommendations to combat “information manipulations.” The recommendations are part of an exhaustive new study published by the Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS) — attached to the ministry of foreign affairs — and the Institute for Strategic Research of the Military School (IRSEM) — attached to the ministry of the armed forces. It warns that information manipulation, defined as “the intentional and massive distribution of false or biased news for hostile political purposes,” aims to “undermine the foundations of our democracy” and thereby constitute a threat to national security.

     

  • Cloak & daggerName your poison: Exotic toxins fell Kremlin foes

    The suspected poisoning of anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov in Moscow — just a few months after nerve-agent poisonings in Britain that led to one death and left three others severely ill — conjures up memories of other Kremlin foes who have fallen victim to toxic attacks in the Vladimir Putin era and previously.

  • The Russia connectionMore evidence dossier did not start Russia investigation

    ABC News’ latest reporting corroborates the now well-known fact: The Christopher Steele’s dossier was not the impetus for the FBI’s Russia investigation.

  • Extremism onlineBroadcasting the reactionary right on YouTube

    A new report presents data from approximately 65 political influencers across 81 channels to identify the “Alternative Influence Network (AIN)”; an alternative media system that adopts the techniques of brand influencers to build audiences and “sell” them political ideology.