Examples of Russian Facebook ads:
M.N.: The Russian Agitprop won the Elections – 2016 for Mr. Trump!
An ad from a Russia-linked account on Facebook run during the 2016 presidential election.US House Intelligence Committee
Congress released some of the Facebook ads linked to Russian operatives in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, and they reveal a concerted effort to divide the US and vilify Hillary Clinton.
The ads targeted different cross-sections of the US population and often citizens at opposite sides of the political spectrum.
“Whether the Russians and Trump coordinated these efforts, we do not yet know, but it is true that the Russians mounted what could be described as an independent expenditure campaign on Trump’s behalf,” Schiff said.
“The Russians did so by weaving together fake accounts, pages, and communities to push politicized content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests,” Schiff said.
Some of the ads portrayed Clinton as an ally of Satan, promoted a US burqa ban, and hailed Trump as the “one and only who can defend the police from terrorists.”
Take a look at the divisive ads below.
A suggestion to like the “Woke Blacks” Facebook page was shown to people interested in “African-American culture” and the civil rights movement.
It was seen more than 750,000 times, the Wall Street Journal reported.
This post, centered on Sanders’ criticism of the Clinton Foundation, was targeted at people who liked the “Bernie Sanders” Facebook page.
“The Clinton Foundation is nothing more than an ‘organized crime’ at it’s [sic] finest, in which we are investing our taxpayers’ money,” the rest of the ad went.
“So why are so many people going to vote for her? That’s a secret for me. What’s your opinion on that point?”
Comey Memoir Title Revealed: ‘A Higher Loyalty’
The cover and title for former FBI Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, were released on Thursday. The title appears to be a direct reference to the now-infamous exchange Comey shared with President Trump at …
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Comey – Google News
‘London professor’ in Trump case made many Russia trips
MOSCOW – The little-known professor suspected of being a link between Russia and the DonaldTrump campaign made repeated visits to Russia in recent years, including participating in conferences at a Russian think tank favored by Russian President …and more »
russia helping trump – Google News
Trove of ‘Russian troll’ posts exposed by Congress
Further instances of social media posts and ads thought to be part of Russian propaganda efforts to influence the last US presidential election and divide its society have been shared with the public. The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence …
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Russian propaganda on social media – Google News
US authorities identify six Russian officials in DNC hack: WSJ
The intelligence community concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the campaign to sway the election in Trump’s favor. Russia has denied it meddled in the election and Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with the …
Prosecutors Consider Bringing Charges in DNC Hacking CaseFox Business
Prosecutors mull charges in DNC hacking: reportThe Hillall 13 news articles »
trump and intelligence community – Google News
Data Shows Sales of Legal Cannabis Products Remain Strong
PR Newswire (press release)
The increased legalization efforts in the November 2016 elections resulted in more states approving cannabis legislation in some form, i.e., medical or recreational. Recreational initiatives … On September 28, 2017, the company announced positive top …
2016 elections anxiety – Google News
November 2, 2017 / 8:29 AM / Updated 4 hours ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has gathered enough evidence to charge six members of the Russian government in the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the investigation.
Federal agents and prosecutors in Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco have been cooperating on the DNC investigation and prosecutors could bring the case to court next year, it said.
By identifying individual Russian military and intelligence hackers with charges, U.S. authorities could make it difficult for them to travel, but arrests and jailing would be unlikely, according to the Journal report.
The hacking investigation, conducted by cybersecurity experts, predates the appointment in May of federal special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Mueller and the Justice Department agreed to allow the technical cyber investigation to continue under the original team of agents and prosecutors, the Journal said.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian intelligence agencies were behind those cyber attacks, which resulted in thousands of emails and other documents being made public by WikiLeaks last year. The intelligence community concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the campaign to sway the election in Trump’s favor.
Russia has denied it meddled in the election and Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with the Russian government.
If the case is brought by federal prosecutors, it would pinpoint the specific Russian military and intelligence hackers behind the attack on the DNC and the emails of John Podesta, who was campaign chairman for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
It would be the second time the United States charged Russians with cyber crimes. In March, the Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts.
(Corrects last paragraph to say ‘It would be the second time the United States charged Russians with cyber crimes,” instead of “It would not be the second time …”)
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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US could charge six Russian officials over DNC email hacking
US intelligence officials, however, have maintained that Russians were indeed behind the hacking. “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at theU.S. presidential election,” it assessed in January. Mueller’s team …
Prosecutors Consider Bringing Charges in DNC Hacking CaseFox Business
US authorities identify six Russian officials in DNC hack: WSJReutersall 18 news articles »
putin won US 2016 election – Google News
This is what you need to know about those Russian Facebook ads
US lawmakers have released a handful of Facebook ads bought by Russian-linked trolls and directly targeted to US citizens during the 2016 presidential election. The ads, which range from Bernie Sanders colouring books to claims that Hillary … This …
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Carl Bernstein: Russia probe feels ‘worse than Watergate’
If President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidency, it’s “worse than Watergate,” journalist Carl Bernstein says. Bernstein’s views on the matter were of great interest to a … “What’s so astonishing to me in the last few months is …and more »
trump and intelligence community – Google News
James Comey’s new book will tell readers about ‘A Higher Loyalty’
Back in January, President Trump allegedly talked James Comey about loyalty. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” he said, according to the former FBI director’s testimony before Congress. And now, the title of Comey’s new book seems to reference that …
Comey – Google News
Sam Clovis was poised to become the USDA’s chief scientist, despite having no science background.
Russian Facebook ads, now publicly released, show sophistication of influence campaign
Lawmakers on Wednesday released a trove of ads that Russian operatives bought on Facebook, providing the fullest picture yet of how foreign actors sought to promote Republican Donald Trump, denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton and divide Americans …
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Here are some of the Russian Facebook ads meant to divide the US and promote TrumpBusiness Insider
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The Verge –Washington Post
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Hillary Clinton says FBI investigation into Trump, Russia ‘should have come out’ before election
Hillary Clinton is defending her campaign’s involvement with the infamous dossier of research into Donald Trump, which included information about the FBI’s investigation into ties between the then-presidential candidate’s campaign and Russia. Appearing …
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Two Navy destroyer collisions in the Pacific this summer that claimed the lives of 17 sailors were preventable and resulted from multiple failures on the part of senior officers and sailors standing watch to avert disaster, according to a new investigation released Wednesday.
Navy: Failures of Leaders, Watchstanders Led to Deadly Ship Collisions
Two Navy destroyer collisions in the Pacific were preventable and resulted from multiple failures on the part of senior officers.
The Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down people along a bike path near the World Trade Center left a handwritten note referring to the Islamic State group and had been radicalized in the U.S.
Truck Attack Suspect Linked to ISIS, Radicalized in US: Governor
The Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down people on a bike path near the World Trade Center left a note referring to ISIS.
With their level of expertise in all areas of earthly and heavenly, human, social, and other types of existence and endeavors, including the paranormal and sometimes very abnormal and the illegal ones, our dear and wise in all respects FBI should not have any problems answering this question. Unless they do not see it as a problem and as the question that they are in charge of. Then it becomes their problem, and a big one. M.N. 10.23.17FBI, Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election?
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK
Federal prosecutors have filed charges against 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov who is suspected of carrying out Tuesday’s attack in New York. The charges accuse the driver, who killed eight people and injured 12, of aiding the Islamic State group and working with “others known and unknown.” Melanie Grayce West, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Rebecca Davis O’Brien report at the Wall Street Journal.
The F.B.I. are no longer seeking information about a second individual in connection with the attack, the Assistant F.B.I. Director Bill Sweeney announced yesterday, adding that “we have found him. I’ll leave it at that.” Josh Delk reports at the Hill.
The charges against Saipov were filed in civilian court and not the military system, following comments by the president that the U.S. criminal justice system was a “laughingstock” and that he would consider trying Saipov at the military court in Guantánamo Bay. Benjamin Mueller, William K. Rashbaum, Al Baker and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.
Saipov said he was proud of what he had done, he requested that the Islamic State flag be displayed in his hospital room and told the F.B.I. that he was inspired after watching a video of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Mark Brennan report at the Washington Post.
Trump used the terrorist attack to promote hardline policies, saying yesterday that he would take action to remove the “diversity lottery” program for foreigners seeking U.S. visas and step up “extreme vetting” of immigrants, also taking aim at Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) for helping to create the “lottery” program and stating that the U.S. needs a system of “punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.” David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe report at the Washington Post.
Saipov “killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENTALTY!” Trump tweeted last night, his comments potentially causing problems when the criminal case comes to be heard as defense lawyers could argue that their client cannot get a fair trial. Cristiano Lima reports at POLITICO.
The New York attack has shone the spotlight on Uzbekistan and Central Asia’s problems with terrorism, the region consists of five predominantly Muslim Soviet republics that have struggled with poverty and have served as recruitment ground for the Islamic State group. Sajjan Gohel explains at CNN.
Sending Saipov to Guantánamo would be unprecedented, likely drawing the ire of the F.B.I. and career national security professionals, and raising complex legal questions as the suspect is a lawful permanent U.S. resident. Charlie Savage explains at the New York Times.
“It’s hard to imagine a worse idea” than sending Saipov to Guantánamo Bay, the co-editor of Just Security Stephen I. Vladeck writes at the Washington Post, setting out the legal obstacles, arguing that the U.S. criminal justice system is well-equipped to handle such cases, and highlighting that Guantánamo proceedings have been dysfunctional.
The Islamic State group tends to keep quiet when a recruit is apprehended and there may be a number of reasons that they do not claim responsibility in such scenarios, Rukmini Callimachi explains at the New York Times.
Most of the Uzbek and Tajik Islamic State group recruits have been radicalized in Russia, demonstrating the power of the terrorist group’s Russian-language propaganda, Amie Ferris-Rotma writes at Foreign Policy.
Federal prosecutors and agents have gathered evidence to charge more than six members of the Russian government who were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s (D.N.C.) computer system during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to sources familiar with the matter. Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilbur report at the Wall Street Journal.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 2, 2017
“I’m not under investigation as you know,” Trump said yesterday in a phone call about the investigations between the Trump campaign and Russia, saying that he was not “angry at anybody” and that the indictment of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “has nothing to do with us.” Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker report at the New York Times.
“No I don’t believe he does,” the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded yesterday when asked whether the president recalled the suggestion by his former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in March 2016 that he arrange a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters reporting.
Manafort and former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates pose a significant flight risk according to federal prosecutors, due to their “substantial ties abroad” and Manafort currently holds three U.S. passports. The two men were charged earlier this week as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Reuters reports.
A sampling of political ads purchased by Russian operatives on Facebook and Twitter around the 2016 U.S. election were disclosed by lawmakers yesterday during the second day of congressional hearings with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google; the disclosures revealing the extent of Russia’s online campaign to spread disinformation and sow discord. Cecilia King, Nicholas Fandos and Mike Isaac report at the New York Times.
Examples of Russian-bought ads on Facebook and Instagram are provided at POLITICO.
An analysis of Russian-bought Facebook ads and how they made an impact is provided by Leslie Shapiro at the Washington Post.
The former national security adviser Michael Flynn followed five Russia-backed Twitter accounts and promoted their messages, Ben Collins and Kevin Poulsen report at The Daily Beast.
The opposition research firm Fusion GPS paid former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele $168,000 to compile the dossier alleging links between Russia and the Trump campaign, the firm said in a statement yesterday. Mark Hosenball reports at Reuters.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended the decision to pay for part of the Steele dossier in an interview yesterday, also expressing frustration that voters were not made aware before election day that the Trump campaign was under investigation by the F.B.I.. Henry C. Jackson reports at POLITICO.
“Armed conflict must be avoided under any circumstance,” the South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a speech yesterday ahead of Trump’s 12-day visit to Asia, vowing to maintain South Korea’s “overwhelming military superiority” but emphasizing that military action on the Peninsula could not be taken without “prior consent” of Seoul. Jonathan Cheng reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday called for more pressure to be exerted on North Korea to bring about negotiations, Abe also reiterating his support for Trump’s policy that all options are on the table to deal with the nuclear threat. Mari Yamaguchi reports at the AP.
North Korea is developing an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.), according to an anonymous U.S. official, and the missile could potentially strike the U.S. mainland. Barbara Starr reports at CNN.
A bipartisan bill providing for sanctions on North Korea was agreed yesterday and the Senate Banking Committee would act on the bill next week, Patricia Zengerle reports at Reuters.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) yesterday called on Trump to release an assessment of the potential casualties and costs that would come as a consequence of a war with North Korea. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.
Trump will seek to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to rein in North Korea when Trump visits Beijing next week, according to senior administration officials. Steve Holland and John Walcott report at Reuters.
China hopes to work with North Korea “to make a positive contribution to … defending regional peace and stability,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a message replying to North Korea’s congratulatory message on China’s Communist Party Congress. Soyoung Kim and Ken Blanchard report at Reuters.
The recent normalization of relations between China and South Korea could change the dynamics of Trump’s Asia trip and how his administration intends to deal with North Korea and its allies in the region. Jane Perlez, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun explain at the New York Times.
“We can educated [the] North Korean population to stand up by disseminating outside information,” a high-ranking official who defected from North Korea told U.S. lawmakers yesterday, also urging officials to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to convince him to abandon his nuclear program. The BBC reports.
A U.N. resolution drafted by the European Union and Japan would condemn the “gross violations of human rights” in North Korea, the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee is expected to vote on the draft this month. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
Russia opposes “any unilateral change” to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday during a meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, making the comments following Trump’s decision in October to de- certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and adding that Russia opposes “linking Iran’s nuclear program with other issues including defensive issues.” Nasser Karimi reports at the AP.
The U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Washington next week to convince senators not to abandon the nuclear deal or impose sanctions against Iran, saying that the 80 million Iranians “deserve and need to feel the benefits of both the deal and engagement,” but adding that the world should not be “blind” to the “disruptive behavior of Iran.” Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.
“We count on the cooperation of Iran and other partners” to end the war in Syria, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday following discussions with Iranian leaders, saying that the latest round of Syria talks currently being held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana were “advancing well.” Aresu Eqbali and Asa Fitch report at the Wall Street Journal.
The official Syrian opposition said that it would not attend Russia-brokered Syrian peace talks planned for this month, Turkey has also expressed opposition to an invitation extended to the Syrian Kurds and rejected negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime outside the U.N.’s Geneva process or without U.N. sponsorship. Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.
Russia’s veto of the investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria shows a “callous disregard for the suffering and loss of life,” the White House said in a statement yesterday, referring to Russia’s vote eight days ago at the U.N. Security Council which prevented the renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s (J.I.M.) mandate. Brendan O’Brien reports at Reuters.
A suspected Israeli airstrike hit a target in Syria’s Homs province yesterday, and the Syrian army responded by firing surface-to-air missile at the aircraft. Israel has declined to comment on the reports, but the Intelligence Minister reiterated that “smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes.” Ori Lewis reports at Reuters.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out eight airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 31. Separately, partner forces conducted five strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
Negotiations between Iraq’s central government and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region over border controls have failed, according to Iraqi officials. Tensions between Baghdad and Iraq Kurdistan have been high since September’s controversial independence referendum. The AP reports.
Iraqi federal forces threatened yesterday to resume military operations against Kurdish-held territory following the dispute over border controls, Reuters reporting.
Niger would be open to allowing U.S. for investigation, reconnaissance and combat, Niger’s Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said yesterday, adding that there would be an inquest into the ambush of U.S. and Nigerian forces on Oct. 4. Vipal Monga and Joe Parkinson report at the Wall Street Journal.
Niger asked the U.S. “some weeks ago” to arm drones and “use them as needed,” Niger’s Defense Minister Kalla Mountari said yesterday. Tim Cocks and Absoulave Massalatchi reporting at Reuters.
BIN LADEN RAID DOCUMENTS
A series of documents collected from the raid of Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout were released by the C.I.A. yesterday, the documents revealing that Bin Laden was involved in al-Qaeda operations while in hiding. Nancy A. Youssef reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The documents reveal information about Bin Laden’s son, Hamza, and according to analysts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (F.D.D.) reveal a relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran. The BBC reports.
The head of the war court defense team Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker was yesterday sentenced to 21 days confinement by the military judge presiding over the trial of the suspected U.S.S. Cole bombing at Guantánamo Bay, due to Baker’s refusal to follow his orders. Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.
The judge also declared Baker’s decision to release three civilian lawyers from the defense team “null and void,” Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.
The context behind Baker’s confinement is provided by Spencer Ackerman at The Daily Beast.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY
Asian nations are bracing themselves for Trump’s visit to Asia which begins later this week, Foster Klug describes the mood at the AP.
An associate of Vice President Mike Pence has been nominated to be director general of the foreign service, causing concern that diplomacy would be further politicized by the Trump administration. Robbie Gramer explains at Foreign Policy.
The U.S. yesterday defended its decision to vote against the U.N. resolution calling for a repeal of the embargo imposed on Cuba, Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.
The House passed legislation allowing the State Department to revoke the passports of individuals suspected to be foreign terrorists, Cristina Marcos reports at the Hill.
The two fatal U.S. Navy collisions during the summer were “avoidable,” according to a report released by the U.S. Navy. Barbara Starr, Jamie Crawford and Brad Lendon report at the CNN.
An airstrike in Yemen killed at least 25 civilians and wounded at least nine, according to health officials, a statement carried by Saudi Arabia’s officials news agency said that the Arab coalition would investigate the attack. Shuaib Almosawa and Nour Youssef report at the New York Times.
The key question as representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google testify Tuesday and Wednesday before Congress is not how Russia used social media to interfere in last year’s presidential election, but rather what role U.S. voters, the federal government and social media companies should play in building resiliency against such disinformation campaigns in the future. However, in the short-term, collaboration between the government and private industry to institute transparency of ads may minimize the impact of nefarious foreign actors.
- Tuesday, Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, Sean Edgett, the acting general counsel of Twitter, and Richard Salgado, the director of law enforcement and information security at Google, will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism to discuss extremist content and Russian disinformation online.
- Wednesday, Facebook’s Stretch, Twitter’s Edgett, and Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, will also testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee following a earlier hearingat the Senate Intelligence Committee on the same topic.
While lawmakers are likely to criticize the social media executives for the exploitation of their platforms this week, the companies will likely respond that no private company should, in a free society, determine what is true and what is not. Social media, hailed as a powerful communication tool and a great equalizer by internet idealists, has also been clearly demonstrated as a critical element in amplifying deceptive narratives to susceptible audiences.
- “Twitter’s open and real-time nature is a powerful antidote to the spreading of all types of false information,” wrote Colin Crowell, Twitter’s vice president of public policy, government and philanthropy in June. “This is important because we cannot distinguish whether every single Tweet from every person is truthful or not. We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth.”
- The scale of use of these platforms also means policing propagators of disinformation – foreign or domestic – among billions of other users will never be perfect.
However, Russian use of these prominent internet platforms was merely one aspect of what was a much larger and more coordinated Russian effort to undermine faith in Western democratic institutions. Solving the social media problem will not solve the Russia problem, but experts agree that, given the continuing success of Russia’s interference in U.S. politics, both the Kremlin and other nefarious actors will execute similar information operations against vulnerable open societies in the coming years.
- Dezinformatsia, a Russian umbrella term for so-called disinformation operations, seeks to muddy the political and social waters of adversaries, undermining public trust.
- Disinformation is spread through both overt state-sponsored media, such as Russian channels RT and Sputnik, and covert operations, such as weaponized hack-and-leak operations, cutouts, and compromising material, or Kompromat.
- According to Facebook’s own statements, the Kremlin employs a network of paid trolls – most notably the Internet Research Agency – to amplify divisive opinions and misinformation to exploit societies’ political flashpoints, from immigration and racism to gender identity and gun rights. Between 2015 and 2017, the troll farm reportedly posted about 80,000 times – over 200 posts a day – and that roughly 29 million people received the content in their news feeds, and at most, another 126 million may have been exposed to the Kremlin-directed disinformation through likes and shares.
- According to data from six of the 470 Russian Facebook pages that have been identified by the company– namely Blacktivists, United Muslims of America, Being Patriotic, Heart of Texas, Secured Borders and LGBT United – Russian disinformation content had been shared over 340 million times, and therefore likely magnitudes greater, given that it represented merely slightly over 1 percent of the known Russian sites.
- Facebook disclosed that known Russian agents bought some $100,000 in advertisements, or around 3000 ads total, targeting specific demographic audiences and geographies such as critical election swing states, including Michigan and Wisconsin.
- Google has acknowledged that Russian trolls uploaded over a thousand videos to YouTube on 18 different channels.
In the short-term, increased transparency of the sources and funding of ads on social media will minimize the risk of manipulation. Social Media companies have begun to implement this transparency, but online ads are often automated, making vetting and policing difficult.
- Last week, Twitter announced that it will ban Russian state-sponsored media channels RT and Sputnik from purchasing ads and will require election-related ads for candidates to disclose who is purchasing them and how they are being targeted.
- Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president in charge of ad products, said the company is designing new tools that will allow users to click on a link to see all the ads any given advertiser is running, even if it did not initially target them. Goldman also said the company will build an archive of federal election ads that appear on Facebook, including the amount spent and number times an ad is displayed.
Ultimately, informing users of potential disinformation may be the primary way to navigate the complex and easily-manipulated digital information landscape of the future. How consumers of news on social media can effectively distinguish fact from fiction will be the real bulwark against Russian disinformation, not the policing of content from privately owned platforms.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google did not respond to requests for comment.
Levi Maxey is a cyber and technology analyst at The Cipher Brief. Follow him on Twitter @lemax13.
Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyber assault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries. (Reuters)
The Russian hackers who targeted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign also attempted to breach several thousand email inboxes, including those of U.S. defense contractors, a papal representative, and a member of the punk band Pussy Riot.
That’s according to a digital hit list obtained by the Associated Press.
The comprehensive list highlights not only the close relationship between the hacking group Fancy Bear and the Russian government, but also the wide variety of their targets — including both Republicans and Democrats — going back several years.
The lengthy catalogue, which includes approximately 4,700 Gmail users worldwide, is “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence,” Keir Giles, director of the Conflict Studies Research Center, told the AP.
Hackers acquired “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence.”
– Keir Giles, director of the Conflict Studies Research Center
In the U.S., the hackers tried to access at least 570 inboxes, according to the AP. Workers for Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin were among the most targeted, as well as top U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark. Additionally, more than 130 political party workers’ inboxes were targeted, including several Democrats and some Republicans.
Also accessed: The private correspondence of U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, in cyberattacks tied to Russian hackers.
In Ukraine, the AP’s analysis showed that Fancy Bear tried to access at least 545 email accounts, including one belonging to President Petro Poroshenko. And the hackers actively sought to breach numerous accounts of domestic Russian dissidents, musicians and journalists.
Targets there included the Vatican’s representative in Kiev and feminist Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina, who was detained in August for rallying for the release of a Ukrainian filmmaker outside his Siberian prison.
The hit list was divined using data assembled by Secureworks, a cybersecurity firm. Secureworks obtained thousands of malicious links and emails after Fancy Bear accidentally revealed secretive information about its phishing operation.
Fancy Bear is believed to be closely associated with the Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. The AP’s findings provide further evidence of Fancy Bear’s collaboration with the Russian government.
Fancy Bear’s work is not confined to hacking emails. In 2014, experts believe Fancy Bear created a malicious version of a mobile app and posted it to a Ukrainian military forum. The compromised app likely allowed the Russian military to view the locations of Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield, officials said.
Security researchers believe Fancy Bear is using a sophisticated leaked National Security Agency hacking tool known as EternalBlue, the Hill reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Russian hackers targeted hundreds of US Gmail accounts, new ‘hit list’ shows
Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National SecurityAgency, hackers staged a cyber assault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries. (Reuters).and more »
Led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.) and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the first openly gay New Yorker elected to Congress, the brief was joined by 36 Senators and 175 members of the House of Representatives. Among the notable signatories are Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).
“I support religious freedom and the freedom of full equality for every American. Our religious beliefs don’t entitle any of us to discriminate against others and I don’t believe that any American should face discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation—whether it’s at a bakery, a hotel, or a doctor’s office,” said Baldwin. “It is simply wrong to discriminate against any American based on who they are or who they love. If an individual has the ability to pay for a service and is not in violation of the law, they should not be turned away.”
The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, concerns cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, who refused to sell a cake to Charlie Craig and David Mullins for the two men’s wedding. In response, Craig and Mullins filed charges in front of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, contending that their civil rights had been denied.
The case centers around Phillips’s First Amendment rights to both freedom of worship and to freedom of expression: Phillips sees his work as art, and thinks that the obligation to make cakes independent of their use contravenes his expression rights. Craig and Mullins, meanwhile, contend that Phillips’s denial of service to them violates their civil rights to not be turned away in public simply because of their sexual orientation.
The case has drawn attention as the latest to deal with rights for gay Americans—following 2012’s United States v. Windsor and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges—and for Americans who oppose same-sex marriage for religious or moral reasons.
Ruling in favor of Phillips would be contrary to the history of antidiscrimination legislation, and would permit unchecked discrimination while blocking legislators from intervening, the Democrats said.
“To allow the exemptions sought by Petitioners would effectively create a constitutional rule condoning broad-based discriminatory conduct while hamstringing Congress from enacting comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation in the future,” they write.
Rather, they contend, the religious concerns of Phillips and others are overruled by a need to practice equal treatment, the “cost” of doing business in an equal society. The exemption that Phillips seeks is incompatible with existing non-discrimination law, regardless of how much he engages in “expressive” conduct.
“At a minimum, the obligation to recognize basic civil rights and practice equal treatment is at least the ‘cost’ of doing business. Put simply, doing business in a society of equals necessitates equal treatments,” they write.
The Democrats also claim that Masterpiece’s argument is reminiscent of those made against passage of title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination against African Americans in restaurants, shops, and other “places of public accommodation.”
“The very reasons once cited for the pervasive exclusion of African Americans from places of public accommodation … could be cited in support of conduct invoking this exemption,” they write.
Eleven Senate Democrats, as well as Democrat-aligned independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), did not join the brief. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) did sign on. Among those who did not join the brief are several Senators who face tough reelection battles in 2018: Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
The post Congressional Dems File Brief Opposing Bakers in Gay Wedding Cake Case appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Jim Wilson / The New York Times
FBI agents gather near an entrance to the site of the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2017. A lone gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired down onto attendees at the festival from a 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay suite nearby, killing at least 59 and injuring hundreds.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Aaron Rouse, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Division, responds to a question during a media briefing at Metro Police headquarters Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.
A month into the investigation of why Stephen Paddock indiscriminately rained gunfire on thousands of concert attendees, killing 58 and injuring hundreds at the Route 91 Harvest festival, investigators maintain that there is “absolutely” no indication the gunman was ideologically driven or affiliated with any international or domestic terror or hate group.
But investigators have made significant strides in their efforts to try to determine the how and the why the 64-year-old Mesquite gunman decided to shatter windows of a 32nd story Mandalay Bay suite, bringing forth the biggest loss of life during a shooting in modern U.S. history Oct. 1 on the Las Vegas Strip, said Aaron Rouse, FBI Las Vegas’ special agent in charge.
“We do know a lot more (about Paddock) than when we started,” Rouse told the Las Vegas Sun Wednesday afternoon. “I feel like we are going in the correct direction to understand why this happened.”
Asked if investigators have pinpointed a possible motive, Rouse said he believes that, “When we’re done, we’ll have as close to an answer on the why as you’re going to be able to come to without talking with (Paddock).”
But before that conclusion is made and publicly announced, investigators need to ensure that determination comes from evidence and facts and not from speculation or assumption, Rouse said, asking for patience from the public. “It won’t be as fast as people would want it to be. This isn’t a TV show.”
Since the shooting, investigators have received and tracked hundreds of tips, Rouse said.
Initially, the probe extended worldwide, but it’s scaled down since agents got a lot of the answers they were searching for, which include Paddock’s movements and contacts, Rouse said. Briefings are held daily and new developments are communicated to Metro Police, which is working in conjunction with its federal counterpart.
At one point more than 300 FBI personnel had been summoned, with hundreds more in rotation when the original group became fatigued. The FBI’s Evidence Response Team “painstakingly” worked side by side with Metro’s forensic investigators in a “very long and detailed effort” to measure and study the killing field.
“When they’re done with their final report, there will be — I think — as best representation forensically of what happened as you can possibly ask for,” Rouse said. And that information led investigators in “good directions.”
The agency’s victim assistance unit repatriated belongings left behind by the victims with their loved ones. “You never quite know how a small object is going to affect someone’s life,” Rouse said.
Interviews and follow-ups have been conducted and subpoenas have been served and returned. It’s not rare to see hundreds or even thousands of these court orders in an investigation of this scale, Rouse said. Footage related to the shooting, a substantial amount turned in by civilians, has amounted to more than 40 terabytes.
Rouse said video provided by the public has helped tighten a timeline, which has seen several adjustments. “We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”
We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had a fairly good, robust understanding of the events that have gone on, and unfortunately people got wrapped up around a timeline,” Rouse said, referring to what Metro Police has said about that due to its preliminary nature, it was likely to include inconsistencies as investigators learned more, and dealt with different time stamps, logs and witness statements.
Responding to criticism of the shifting timeline, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said during the last public briefing Oct. 13 that information released the days after the shooting, which was what investigators knew at the time, was to “calm the public” and not serve as an official account or build a legal case.
The current timeline remains consistent, Rouse said.
As with other modern mass-casualty events, conspiracy theories have been rampant online. Was there a second shooter; was it a false-flag operation, is there a government cover-up?
All evidence points to Paddock being the only shooter and “we’re too busy to pay attention” to online conspiracy theorists, Rouse said.
“Thousands of people have been involved in this effort, (a cover-up) would require an effort to keep all of them in line with the same story and that doesn’t happen in real life,” Rouse said. “So we’re going to continue to focus on the facts, we’re going to continue to focus on being thorough, and it will take as long as it takes, but I believe we’re making significant progress.”
Asked if the misinformation has led to false tips, Rouse said that it happens in every investigation.
“I think it becomes more intensified because of the media outpouring on this particular event,” Rouse said. But they follow every lead to assure that what’s being reported “absolutely did or did not happen.”
Victims, their loved ones and the public deserve for the FBI to be right, as that contributes to the trust and confidence the federal agency seeks. “I have the ultimate confidence to know that we’re following a tried and true course that has worked well for law enforcement agencies worldwide.”
Nevada can be proud of the public-private partnerships, Rouse said.
“Bad things are going to happen,” Rouse said. “It’s how you respond to them that shows your true sense of community, and this is a strong community.”
FBI is closer to drawing a conclusion on motive for Las Vegas shooting
Las Vegas Sun
FBI agents gather near an entrance to the site of the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2017. A lone gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired down onto attendees at the festival from a 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay suite nearby, killing at least 59 and …and more »
Bin Laden raid: Son Hamza’s wedding video in CIA file release
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Social Media: The Fifth Column in the Fifth Domain
As representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google prepare to testify before Congress, we look at how these platforms fit into a larger Russian disinformation campaign.
In an otherwise forgettable February 2017 interview, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump how he could respect Russian President Vladimir Putin, who O’Reilly labeled as a “killer.” Trump shockingly defended Putin by commenting, “There are a lot of killers. We have killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” On a separate Fox program in 2015, Trump brushed off comments that Putin kills journalists who disagree with him, responding, “I think our country does plenty of killing too.” Trump’s tendency to attribute moral equivalence to otherwise non-comparable issues was again on display when he repeatedly blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This political tactic of deflecting answers is not unique to Trump. Indeed, it is long-favorite ploy of Soviet and Russian spokesmen. The Washington Post recently wrote an article about the issue entitled, “Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump.” Of the many practices and talking points that President Trump has seemed to borrow from Putin’s Russia, “whataboutism” is particularly insidious. As New York Times correspondent Anne O’Hare described this much-used trick, “it may not convince, but it adds to the confusion between truth and falsehood and fosters that darkness of the mind in which dictatorships operate.” When combined with Russia’s use of disinformation, bots, propaganda, espionage, cyber-attacks, Facebook advertisements, and espionage, it makes for a powerful intelligence operation.
Both authors of this piece served in the CIA and have become sensitive to a “whataboutism” charge often leveled by people across the political spectrum: “So what if Russia meddled in our election? It is exactly what the CIA does around the world.” Such suggestions—particularly from the president himself—are frustrating, to say the least. Rather than be compared to U.S. actions overseas, the Russian intelligence operation needs to be judged for what it is: a Russian attack on the United States.
At the risk of acting exactly as Russia would like, we’ll indulge the whataboutism crowd for a moment. We openly admit the CIA is an espionage enterprise, and a major component of that, as the CIA says in its mission statement, is to conduct “effective covert action as directed by the President.” A covert action—be it, for example, sabotage, the spreading of propaganda or a paramilitary operation—is designed to hide the hand of the country carrying out that action, or at least provide plausible deniability. The action itself is usually intended to have a political effect. Covert action is similar to what Russian intelligence services call “active measures.”
The president must approve every covert action through a “Presidential Finding,” and the intelligence oversight committees in Congress monitor the action.
We also openly admit the United States has participated in its share of excesses. In the early years of the Cold War, the United States overthrew governments, including democratically elected ones, and even attempted to assassinate leaders of other countries.
These are not the proudest moments of our history, which is why our democratic institutions have sought to curb such excesses and ensure our intelligence activities align with our values as a nation. Constitutional change in leadership has assured those values are constantly reassessed. The pendulum has swung over time. The 1975 Church Committee investigations of intelligence abuses put an end to U.S. government-sanctioned assassination and established the Senate oversight committee. However, the attacks of September 11 led to new excesses, the consequences of which we, as a country, are still dealing with today.
Indeed, due to increased oversight and lessons learned from earlier mistakes, the CIA has been out of the business of overthrowing governments for a long time. One can agree or disagree with the policy, but recent efforts aimed at regime change have come with a decidedly military flavor. Of course, there are consequences to any effort aimed at overthrowing a country’s leadership, but it seems the United States has come to the conclusion that it is better to do so overtly, and with allies if possible.
The key point, however, is that our society processes its blunders and takes the consequences seriously. Our covert action does not take place in a vacuum, but within a structured set of rules and laws. They are not perfect. When we see imperfections, we work to fix them. It’s not always pretty, and it doesn’t always work well (ask any field officer how many meetings with lawyers he or she had to have before undertaking even the slightest first step toward covert action). But generally speaking, we endeavor to create a better way of doing things, implementing checks and balances to control potential overreach. We keep aiming for better.
So how is Russia’s influence operation against our election different?
Russia’s influence operation is an attempt by an authoritarian regime, led by a single individual with zero oversight and who is not accountable in any way, to influence and divide a democratic society through its open, democratic election process. It is the equivalent of Russia bombing the democratic institutions of the Western world.
Putin is in a weak position. With an economy smaller than that of New York state and no vision for the country except his own enrichment, Putin has very little to offer his people. Unable to raise his country up, he seeks parity by pulling other countries down. Underlying this is a desire to consolidate and maintain power in a single central authority: Putin himself. Indeed, Putin not only attacks the democratic institutions of other countries, he even stage manages his own elections.
The Russian influence operation against our election was part of this strategy, which was also applied across Europe as several countries held elections, including in the Netherlands, France and Germany. A key component of this operation is preventing people from having a say in their own government, by spreading lies about candidates or asking what’s the point in voting at all, and by exploiting societal fractures and dividing people. Putin has needed this at home—again, because he has little to offer in terms of a vision of the future of Russia—and he is attempting to implement the same elsewhere.
In a free society, citizens have the ability to learn about their government’s actions and to debate and criticize them. Journalists, too, are free to be critical of their leaders. They can – and do – uncover CIA covert activities and critique and criticize as they wish. In Russia, this gets you killed. Putin’s government is implicated in numerous assassinations of Russian journalists and opposition figures.
In a callback to Soviet times, Putin sees both the public and private sectors as his personal foreign policy tools. He directs private companies and individuals to carry out his active measures. Troll farms spread disinformation. Hackers steal information. He has enlisted Russian media to serve as his foreign policy tool. As the editor of RT America said in an interview with The Hill, “When Russia is at war, we are, of course, on Russia’s side.” U.S. covert action, on the other hand, is authorized directly by the President and restrained by Congressional oversight. We also transfer power every four or eight years. Putin faces no such restraints.
Despite President Trump’s rants against journalists, the United States government does not dictate the content of U.S. media outlets. Even ex-spooks are allowed to speak out. John recently publicly questioned if Trump colluded with Russia, and Alex wrote a series critical of the U.S. role in overthrowing Iran’s prime minister in 1953. Can you imagine an ex-KGB officer writing a public article criticizing Putin or a Russian active measures campaign? The polonium-laced tea would be delivered directly to her hotel room.
The fundamental difference between Putin’s Russia and the United States is the key to understanding why Russia’s influence operation is different. The assignment of moral equivalence between an open society, however imperfect, and Putin’s Russia that inhibits a free press, squashes any and all opposition, and invades its neighbors is wrong, and frankly offensive to those public servants upholding the Constitution.
At the end of the day, there is a reality of right and wrong in the world. The U.S., despite its mistakes, is about a world order that serves the U.S. by benefiting all. Putin, on the other hand, seeks to interrupt and weaken the credibility of the West worldwide, fueled by the singular ambition of maintaining personal power and wealth.
Yes, the U.S. takes action overseas, but it is fundamentally different than Russia and is supported by a legal process that is answerable to the electorate. As Joel Harding commented recently on his blog, To Inform is to Influence, “In the United States we count our blessings in terms of our freedoms. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so on. I often ask, what freedoms do Russians have?”
What About Election Meddling by U.S. Intelligence? – The Cipher Brief
The Cipher Brief
President Trump is borrowing one of Putin’s and Russia’s most insidious tactics: ‘whataboutism.’and more »
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The social media ads Russia wanted Americans to see
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House Intelligence Committee Releases Incendiary Russian Social Media Ads
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Russia Investigations: Connecting the Dots
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New York Times
Manafort’s Brooklyn Brownstone Goes From Eyesore to Evidence
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Kremlin: Attempts to tie US investigations to Russia ‘baseless’ and ‘ludicrous’
The Boston Globe
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