• Russian 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.

  • Facing 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.

  • Disinformation 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.

  • Salisbury 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.

  • Russian 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.

  • Secure 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.

  • U.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.

  • How 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.

     

  • Name 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.

  • More 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.

  • Broadcasting 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.

  • Swiss confirm Russians tried to hack lab analyzing Skripal samples

    The Swiss government has confirmed reports that Dutch authorities had arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies earlier this year after the two allegedly tried to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts chemical weapons tests. The alleged target was the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed samples from the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

  • Berlin hospital says “highly plausible” Russian activist was poisoned

    German doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov have said that the anti-Kremlin activist was probably poisoned, and a Moscow newspaper reports a possible connection with the killing of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) in July. The developments on September 18 deepened the mystery surrounding the sudden illness of Verzilov, a member of the punk protest band Pussy Riot and the dissident art troupe Voina who was flown to Berlin for treatment three days earlier.

  • Securing Americans’ votes

    To protect the integrity and security of U.S. elections, all local, state, and federal elections should be conducted using human-readable paper ballots by the 2020 presidential election, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences. In addition, every effort should be made to use paper ballots in the 2018 federal election. Ballots that have been marked by voters should not be returned over the Internet or any network connected to it, because no current technology can guarantee their secrecy, security, and verifiability, the report says.

  • U.K. charges Russians in novichok case, May says “not a rogue operation”

    British prosecutors have announced charges against two Russian men they believe poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a deadly nerve agent, and Prime Minister Theresa May says the government has concluded the suspects were officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency.