Tags: Russia Probe | Trump Administration | james clapper | facebook | russia | probe | trump

Clapper Calls Facebook Official's Post That Trump Touted 'False'

Sunday, 18 February 2018 03:26 PM

Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper contradicted a tweet from a Facebook Inc. executive that said swaying the 2016 election wasn’t the main aim of Russian interference outlined in a new indictment.

“Clearly the Russians were trying to affect the election,” Clapper, who served under President Barack Obama, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. He said the notion was supported by both intelligence at the time and the indictment unsealed Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities.

Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president of ad sales, tweeted Friday that “swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal” -- prompting President Donald Trump to retweet the message the next day to back his claim that Russian meddling didn’t affect the results of the election. The Russians’ aim was to help Trump and hurt his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, as well as to sow discord, according to the indictment.

“Never before have we seen an effort like this mounted by the Russians,” said Clapper, who described an “ambient level” of attempts at interference by Russia and the Soviet Union going back to the 1960s and more activity in 2015 and 2016. “The multidimensional nature of it and its aggressiveness and directness: This was unprecedented,” he said.

Evidence Cited

Among the evidence Goldman pointed to in a series of posts was that 56 percent of the Facebook ads bought by the indicted Russians were displayed after the Nov. 8 election. The company verified his posts as authentic.

In a follow-up tweet, Goldman attempted to soften his earlier comments by saying that “the Russian campaign was certainly in favor of Trump. The point is that the misinformation campaign is ongoing and must be addressed.”

Clapper warned on Sunday that the Russians “are going to continue” with their efforts.

Facebook has long sought to appear politically neutral, despite executives’ personal leanings. With the platform so central to an investigation that Trump has politicized, that image is complicated to maintain. The president using an executive’s tweet to support his views may be even more uncomfortable for the company.

Executives at Facebook this year have taken to Twitter to try and add more insight and explanation once journalists interpret the news the company puts out. Goldman has recently become active, joining long-time executive Andrew Bosworth, the head of security Alex Stamos and head of news feed Adam Mosseri.

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Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper contradicted a tweet from a Facebook Inc. executive that said swaying the 2016 election wasn't the main aim of Russian interference outlined in a new indictment."Clearly the Russians were trying to affect the...
james clapper, facebook, russia, probe, trump
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2018-26-18
Sunday, 18 February 2018 03:26 PM
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