• Demagogues on the right and left use digital tools to exploit popular resentment, dissatisfaction

    The digital era has spurred many advancements in many areas of human society, but it has also led to growing instability and inequality, notes Tom Wheeler, a Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation. At the political level, the digital engine which is driving economic and social instability also provides the tools to exploit the resulting dissatisfaction so as to threaten liberal democratic capitalism, he argues.

  • The time of the trolls

    The West woke up to the threat of Kremlin trolls in 2016, however it had already been very damaging in 2014–2015. The Ukraine crisis saw the deployment of trolls to Facebook and VKontakte, as well as YouTube and Twitter. The investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election showed that trolling was never completely dependent on a technology like bots, nor that it was predominantly about Kremlin employees sitting somewhere in Russia manufacturing anti-Clinton propaganda. Rather, it was ordinary Americans and Europeans that were sharing the messages launched by trolls, and often posting them themselves.

  • Sen. Warner: Moscow has closed cyber gap with U.S.

    The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee warns the United States is being outgunned in cyberspace, already having lost its competitive advantage to Russia while China is rapidly closing in. “When it comes to cyber, misinformation and disinformation, Russia is already our peer and in the areas of misinformation or disinformation, I believe is ahead of us,” Senator Mark Warner told an audience Friday in Washington.

  • Butina pleads guilty to meddling in U.S. politics under the direction of “Russian Official”

    ABC News has obtained a copy of Maria Butina’s plea agreement, and she has decided to plead guilty to conspiracy charges and cooperate with authorities’ ongoing investigations. Butina admits that she and an unnamed “U.S. Person 1,” which sources have identified as longtime Republican operative Paul Erickson, with whom she had a multiyear romantic relationship, “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official (“Russian Official”) and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General.”

  • No time for complacency: How to combat foreign interference after the midterms

    From cabinet officials in the Trump administration to the social media platform companies, there has been widespread acknowledgement in the United States that the Russian government and other authoritarian states targeted the midterm elections and will continue to interfere in U.S. democracy. The administration and Congress have tools at their disposal to raise the costs on those who interfered in the midterms and to deter authoritarian actors from interfering in U.S. democratic institutions and processes in the future. These include punitive measures like sanctions, defensive steps like improving election security and regulating political advertisement online, and congressional oversight functions to hold the administration accountable and keep pressure on tech companies to secure their platforms from manipulation.

  • 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.