Tags: state department | russia | china | elections | rex tillerson

NYT: State Hasn't Used Any of $120 Million to Fight Foreign Meddling in Elections

Image: NYT: State Hasn't Used Any of $120 Million to Fight Foreign Meddling in Elections

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By    |   Sunday, 04 March 2018 09:16 PM

The State Department received $120 million to fight foreign meddling in elections following the 2016 presidential election, but has not used any of the funds, inaction that comes despite warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia will interfere in the upcoming elections, The New York Times reports.  

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took too long to decide on taking the first $60 million, earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center in the final days of the Obama administration for coordinating efforts to fight Chinese and Russian “anti-democratic propaganda,” and last week only accepted $40 million of $60 million appropriated to those same efforts.

Lawmakers were angered by Tillerson’s initial spurn, which Politico said stemmed from staffing shifts, hesitation about irritating the Russians and confusion about the decision making progress within the State Department.

But following searing criticism from members of both parties, Tillerson approved submitting a request for $40 million, which the State Department expects to receive in April.

“It is well past time that the State Department’s Global Engagement Center gets the resources Congress intended for it to effectively fight Kremlin-sponsored disinformation and other foreign propaganda operations,” Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said last Wednesday according to the Times. 

Even late, the State Department expects the funds to help boost the center’s operations.

“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” said Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take. We also need to be on the offensive.”

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The State Department received $120 million to fight foreign meddling in elections following the 2016 presidential election, but has not used any of the funds, inaction that comes despite warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia will interfere in the upcoming elections.
state department, russia, china, elections, rex tillerson
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2018-16-04
Sunday, 04 March 2018 09:16 PM
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