Monday, October 19, 2020

Can You B'Lee They Say This Isht With A Straight Face? "This Is A Russian Disinformation Operation"

usatoday |   The New York Post story's publication prompted some to draw parallels to the runup to the 2016 election, when emails from the Democratic National Committee were hacked by Russian-affiliated operatives and released by WikiLeaks.

The FBI is now examining whether Russia is tied to the information cited by the New York Post.

Some experts say the story has many hallmarks of a disinformation campaign.

"It is also an old Cold War disinformation tactic to pass information, especially but not exclusively when forged, to low-brow newspapers that have high circulation and low standards of investigation. Ideal for surfacing and amplification," Thomas Rid, a political scientist who focuses on disinformation and information warfare at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said in a tweet.

Russian operatives worked to sow partisan divisions in the U.S. and spread disinformation during the 2016 presidential election cycle, according to a 2017 report from U.S. intelligence services. That report found that Russian President Vladimir Putin "aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances," in part by discrediting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

Trump's own intelligence officials have warned Moscow is interfering again in the 2020 election.

In September, the Treasury Department sanctioned Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who met with Giuliani in December, for being an "active Russian agent for over a decade."

Bannon was indicted for fraud in August in connection to a border-wall fundraising effort that raised more than $25 million "under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction," according to prosecutors. Bannon has pleaded not guilty. 

More:How many Trump advisers have been criminally charged? Manafort, Stone and Steve Bannon makes 7

In the case of Giuliani associate Derkach, the Treasury Department's move was aimed at "exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference." It also made clear that Giuliani has engaged with Russian agents in his campaign against the Bidens.

Former Biden aides have also suggested that Russians are behind the story.

"This is a Russian disinformation operation,” Michael Carpenter, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense with a specialization in Eastern Europe who now heads the Penn Biden Center, said to POLITICO. "I’m very comfortable saying that.”