Tags: Russia | Russia Probe | Trump Administration | russia today | foreign agent | election meddling | 2016

RT Told to Register as Foreign Agent for '16 Election Meddling

Image: RT Told to Register as Foreign Agent for '16 Election Meddling
Deputy Assistant AG for National Security Adam Hickey (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Dec 2017 04:38 PM

The Justice Department reportedly decided to make Russian-backed news outlet RT register as a foreign agent partly because of a multi-agency intelligence report that said the network played a role in Moscow's efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Adam Hickey, deputy assistant attorney general for national security, told reporters Thursday the intel assessment released last January was "relevant" in triggering a closer look whether RT's U.S. affiliates were violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Politico reported.

"You probably are aware that the intelligence community published an assessment of Russia's efforts to interfere with our presidential election last year," Hickey said in answer to why RT — operating in the United States since 2010 — was told to register in August. "That report was certainly relevant to our decision to examine them more recently."

The department forced RT to register as a foreign agent last month, Business Insider reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in turn signed a law late last month that allows Russian authorities to label foreign media as foreign agents.

In a conference call with journalists in the United States and overseas, including some from RT, Hickey said it was clear from RT's contracts the network's U.S. affiliates were under the control of a Russian government-backed broadcaster, TV Novosti, Politico reported.

He also disputed that RT was forced to register.

"The decision to register in response to a letter from the Department of Justice is a voluntary decision. Only an independent federal judge can compel an entity to register," Hickey said, Politico reported. "Entities that disagree with our conclusion can make us prove our case in court."

Hickey also said Russia was not being singled out for extraordinary treatment, noting media outlets with links to China, Japan, and South Korea have also registered under the foreign agents law, Politico reported.

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Russian-backed news outlet RT was ruled by the Justice Department to register as a foreign agent in part because of its role in Moscow's efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, Politico reported.
russia today, foreign agent, election meddling, 2016
Thursday, 21 Dec 2017 04:38 PM
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