• DOJ’s new initiative: Alerting public to foreign-influence activities targeting U.S. democracy

    The Department of Justice on Thursday announced that DOJ will begin to alert the public about foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy. The new DOJ initiative is aims to counter hacking and disinformation campaigns such as the one Russia undertook in 2016. The government will inform American companies, private organizations, and individuals that they are being covertly attacked by foreign actors attempting to affect elections or the political process. “Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda,” he said.

  • New cosponsors for the bipartisan DETER Act

    More lawmakers have joined Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) in sponsoring the DETER Act. DETER uses the threat of powerful sanctions to dissuade hostile foreign powers from meddling in U.S. elections by ensuring that they know well in advance that the costs will outweigh the benefits. “We must make sure Putin understands that we will not overlook his hostilities, and he will face punishing consequences if he tries to interfere in our elections again,” Rubio said. “Vladimir Putin would like nothing more than to continue sowing discord and meddling in Western democracies without consequence. Passing this legislation would help improve Americans’ faith in their system of government and send an unmistakable signal to the Kremlin that it’s not worth trying it again,” said Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

  • Russia interfered in 2016 election, continuing “malign influence operations to this day”: FBI Director Wray

    FBI director Chris Wray on Wednesday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s recent comments that cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. On Monday, two hours after the Trump-Putin summit, Director of National Security Dan Coats issued a terse statement reaffirming his agreement with the U.S intelligence community’s conclusions. “My view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day,” Wray told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt at the Aspen Security Forum.

  • Russian intelligence, masquerading as the “Cyber Caliphate,” cyber-harassed U.S. military families

    Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) sent a letter last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the Department of Justice to investigate cyber harassment of U.S. military families by Russian intelligence services. Russian intelligence officers, masquerading as the “Cyber Caliphate,” had launched an intimidation campaign against several U.S. military spouses in 2015.

  • Russia, post-World Cup, plans to intensify aggression against West: U.S., U.K. intel sources

    Sources familiar with intelligence collected by the United Kingdom, the United States, and other allies say that Russian intelligence agencies are about to ramp up operations targeting Western countries. The growing concern about Russia’s plans preceded the meeting earlier this week between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Intelligence officials in the United States and the United Kingdom told CNN that the Russians ordered a relative lull in activity during the month-long soccer tournament, which was hosted by Russia.

  • U.S. steps up charges against alleged Russian “agent” in Washington

    A U.S. grand jury has stepped up criminal charges against a woman accused of acting as a covert agent for Russia by cultivating ties with U.S. politicians, while Russian officials denounced the case. The U.S. grand jury late on 17 July charged Maria Butina, 29, a student at American University in Washington and founder of a Russian gun-rights group, with conspiracy and acting as an agent of the Russian government.

  • Intel director Coats: Russia interfered in 2016 election

    In Monday’s joint press conference in Helsinki, President Donald Trump sided with President Vladimir Putin’s “powerful denials” of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, and questioned the unanimous verdict of the U.S. intelligence community – a verdict based on national technical means, digital forensics, and human sources – that there is a mountain of incontrovertible evidence confirming Russia’s meddling. Shortly after the press conference, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a terse statement defending the veracity of the intelligence community’s assessment.

  • Donald Trump’s fight with his own intelligence services will only get worse

    Those wanting a robust response by the United States to Russian foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East were worried about the Trump. But the worst was yet to come: in an extraordinary 46-minute joint news conference after the two men met, Trump refused to support the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had intervened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While it’s foolhardy to predict the future at the best of times, never mind under the Trump administration, it’s certain that America’s spies and President Trump face a stormy future.

  • U.S. charges woman with links to Kremlin, U.S. politicians as covert Russian agent

    Maria Butina, a 29-year old Russian national in the United States on a student visa, cultivated ties with American conservative politicians and groups – especially the NRA – and was close to people around Donald Trump. She bragged at parties in Washington that she could use her political connections to help get people jobs in the Trump administration after the election. She was arrested on Monday and charged with being a covert Russian agent. The criminal complaint says that she reported to Aleksandr Torshin, a Russian oligarch who doubles as a cut-out for Russian intelligence. Torshin became a lifetime member of the NRA in 2012, and is now being investigated for allegedly steering millions of dollars from the Kremlin to the NRA in 2016, which the NRA then used to fund pro-Trump advertising and campaign events.

  • Helping state, local election officials enhance cybersecurity

    The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity recently partnered with the Florida Department of State and election officials across Florida to provide training for supervisors of elections and key personnel to enhance cybersecurity resiliency ahead of the 2018 elections. In January 2017, DHS designated voting systems as critical infrastructure. In May 2018, DHS, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence spoke to Congress about the importance of preparing state and local election officials for the coming Russian government cyberattacks on U.S. election systems, attacks which experts expect to be more sophisticated – and disruptive — than those the Kremlin launched in 2016.

  • Reports detail Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear documents

    Israel has revealed new details of how its spy agency smuggled out nuclear documents from Iran earlier this year, although the material does not appear to provide evidence that Iran failed to fulfill its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

  • U.S. intel chief on Russia’s unrelenting cyberattacks: “The warning lights are blinking red”

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Friday that the U.S. digital infrastructure “is literally under attack” by Russia. “These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not.” Coats emphasized that Russia’s hostile cyber activities go beyond targeting elections and sowing division, to attempts to target vulnerabilities in critical U.S. infrastructure, trying to infiltrate energy, water, nuclear, and manufacturing sectors. He compared today’s warning indicators related to Russian cyberattacks to the warning indicators in the run-up to 9/11. “It was in the months prior to September 2001, when according to then-CIA director George Tenet, the system was blinking red,” he said. “And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say the warning lights are blinking red again.”

  • U.S. Homeland Security chief: Russia sowing divisions among Americans

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said U.S. intelligence officials are seeing “persistent Russian efforts” to use social media and other resources to create divisions among the American people. She said the Russians are using social media, “sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people.” “Though votes were not changed” during the 2016 election, she said, “any attempt to interfere in our elections — successful or unsuccessful — is a direct attack on our democracy.”

  • 12 Russian intelligence operatives criminally charged for hacking, leaking DNC emails in 2016

    The U.S. Justice Department today (Friday) has criminally charged twelve Russian intelligence officers for the hacking and leaking emails of senior Democratic Party officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. The hacking and leaking of the emails were part of a broad and effective Kremlin effort to help Donald Trump win the November 2016 election. The 11-count indictment spells out in granular detail a carefully planned and executed attack on the information security of Democrats, planting hundreds of malware files on Democrats’ computer systems, stealing information, and then laundering the pilfered material through fake personas and others to try to influence voters’ opinions. The twelve Russian intelligence operatives indicted on Friday join thirteen other Russian individuals and three Russian companies who, in February, were criminally charged by Mueller’s team for interfering in the presidential campaign, using social media, and coordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists.

  • British defense chief says Russian “attack” led to woman's death

    The residue of the poisonous chemical Novichock, which Russian intelligence agents used in early March in Salisbury, U.K., in an assassination attempt of a former Russian spy and his daughter, poisoned two residents from neighboring Amesbury, killing one of them. “The simple reality is that Russia has committed an attack on British soil which has seen the death of a British citizen,” Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said.