• Russia is trying to undermine Americans’ confidence in the justice system, security experts warn

    Cybersecurity, national security, and legal experts are warning that Russia’s efforts to weaken America’s democratic institutions are not limited to elections — but also extend to the U.S. justice system. “While we all focused on the electoral system, I think this disinformation effort is organized to really attack any of the pillars of democracy,” Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency and the CIA, told the Washington Post’s Bastien Inzaurralde. “And when you think of the system that is the most highly regarded among the three branches of government, it is the court system. If you were installed in the position of a Russian disinformation planner, wouldn’t you want to erode that?”

  • British spy chief warns Russia against covert activity after nerve-agent attack

    The head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service has warned the Kremlin not to underestimate the West following a nerve-agent attack on a retired double agent in England that he attributed to covert Russian activity. Alex Younger, head of the Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, made the remarks on December 3 in a rare public speech – saying that Russia is in a state of “perpetual confrontation” with the West.

  • GOP tells FBI that NRCC computers were subject of major cyber hack during 2018 midterms

    The Republican Party has told the FBI that its computer network was the victim of a major cyber hack during the 2018 midterms campaign. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said it believes that thousands of sensitive emails were exposed as a result of the attack.

  • Did Manafort meet Assange?

    Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when Manafort was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House. It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

  • Trump regularly briefed on Manafort-Muller discussions

    A lawyer for Paul Manafort repeatedly briefed President Donald Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. This highly unusual arrangement intensified tensions between Trump’s team and the special counsel’s office after prosecutors discovered it. Muller’s office discovered that Manafort’s lawyers were regularly updating the Trump team after Manafort began cooperating with Muller’s office two months ago. Some legal experts speculated that it was an attempt by Manafort to secure a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel in hopes of a lighter sentence.

  • Seven commandments of fake news: Exposing the Kremlin’s methods

    A 3-series multimedia project by the New York Times reveals how current Kremlin disinformation campaigns stem from a long tradition of weaponizing information. Titled Operation Infektion, the series tells the story of a “political virus,” invented decades ago by the KGB to “slowly and methodically destroy its enemies from the inside,” and which the Kremlin continues to deliberately spread to this day.

  • Bannon's Brexit connection

    A recent report in the New Yorker revealed emails show Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica played a role in pushing Brexit. Their Leave.EU support may have been an incubator for tactics deployed to propel the Trump presidential campaign.

  • U.S. documents suggest charges filed against WikiLeaks founder Assange

    U.S. court documents suggest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been criminally charged by prosecutors in a case that could be related to the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections. News outlets report that the disclosure was included as part of a court filing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, in a case unrelated to Assange.

  • Democrats say they may tie legislation to protection of Russia probe

    A leading Democrat says his party is looking at introducing a bill to Congress that would protect the probe investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

  • Russia’s intelligence agencies threaten the U.K.

    A new report makes explosive claims about the scale of Russian espionage in the United Kingdom. The report is based on confidential interviews with high-level dissident, defector, and intelligence sources and sets out both banal and brazen examples of what it says is Vladimir Putin’s ongoing menacing of U.K. streets.

  • Facebook blocks 115 accounts after alert from U.S. authorities

    Facebook says it has blocked 115 user accounts after U.S. authorities alerted the social network to suspicious activity that may be linked to a foreign country. The company’s move, announced in a blog post late on 5 November, came hours after U.S. law enforcement agencies warned that, as U.S. voters go to the polls on 6 November, they should be wary of attempts by Russia, Iran, and other countries to spread fake news on social media.

  • Russia influence operations taking aim at U.S. military

    With the U.S. midterm elections taking place Tuesday, there are growing fears that Russia’s efforts to undermine U.S. democracy extend far beyond the polls on 6 November or the presidential election in 2020. Defense and security officials worry that as part of Moscow’s plan to sow division and discord, it is trying to conquer the U.S. military — not with bullets or missiles but with tweets and memes. The tactic is an outgrowth of Russia’s overarching strategy to find seams within U.S. society where distrust or anger exist and widen those divisions with targeted messaging.

  • Quiet so far, but not all clear

    Homeland Security and intelligence community officials continue to say that the we are not seeing the same level of online foreign election interference in the run-up to the midterms as we experienced in 2016, cybersecurity experts warn the United States is not necessarily in the clear.

  • White House MIA on midterm elections security

    The United States is less than a week away from the 2018 midterms, but the Trump administration has not put together a substantive, coordinated effort to fight disinformation or possible election interference. Law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence officials held one 90-minute meeting at the Justice Department late last month and left without any answers. No one from the White House attended. In the absence of White House leadership or an overarching strategy, some agencies have taken individual actions. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has stepped forward and convened her own meetings with agency leaders on election security issues.

  • Target USA: Key takeaways from the Kremlin’s “Project Lakhta”

    On 19 October, the Department of Justice announced charges against Elena Khusyaynova, a St. Petersburg-based accountant, for working as part of a conspiracy to wage “information warfare against the United States of America.” According to the FBI, Khusyaynova worked as the chief accountant for “Project Lakhta,” a Russian interference operation targeting citizens in the United States, EU, Ukraine, and Russia. The new charges confirm many assessments of the conduct and strategy behind Russia’s Internet Research Agency, and also highlight several key aspects of the Kremlin’s ongoing influence campaign in the United States.