Tags: michael morell | mike rogers | russia | cyberattacks | social media

Morell, Rogers: Russia Not Deterred, Continuing Online Attacks

Morell, Rogers: Russia Not Deterred, Continuing Online Attacks

By    |   Tuesday, 26 December 2017 08:23 AM

The United States did not establish deterrence against Russia following the 2016 election, and as a result, the country is continuing its use of social media against the United States, former CIA Director Michael Morell and ex-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers write in a column for The Washington Post.

"The United States has failed to establish deterrence in the aftermath of Russia's interference in the 2016 election," the two experts, now on the advisory council for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, wrote in their piece, published on Monday.

"We know we failed because Russia continues to aggressively employ the most significant aspect of its 2016 tool kit: the use of social media as a platform to disseminate propaganda designed to weaken our nation," they added.

The media and general public believe Russia stopped its social media efforts after the 2016 presidential election, Morell and Rogers said, but that's wrong, as Russia's operations continue to this day.

"This should alarm everyone — Republicans, Democrats and independents alike," they said. "Foreign governments, overtly or covertly, should not be allowed to play with our democracy."

Rogers and Morell noted that Russia's tactics were too numerous for them to list in detail, but urged readers to consider the messages that had been spread by Twitter accounts linked to the Kremlin, being tracked through the Alliance for Securing Democracy. 

In just one week in December, they noted, Moscow used their accounts to post tweets discrediting the FBI when it was revealed that agent Peter Strzok had been demoted for sending anti-Donald Trump texts.

In addition, Moscow attacked ABC News for its reporting about Trump and former national security adviser Michael Flynn; to criticize the Obama administration for "green-lighting" communications between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; and to warn that immigrants are becoming violent after the acquittal reached in the Kate Steinle murder case in San Francisco.

"Russian operatives have frequently targeted Republican politicians who have been critical of Trump, including Sen. Jeff Flake or Arizona, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee," they wrote.

"In September, they also attacked Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) after his decisive 'no' vote against the Republican healthcare bill," Morell and Rogers wrote.

Russia's targets weren't all political figures, the two experts wrote.

In mid-November, for example, Russia used its accounts to urge a boycott of the Keurig Company after it pulled its ads from Fox News host Sean Hannity's program after he defended Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

"For two days, #boycottkeurig was the most used hashtag among Kremlin-influenced Twitter accounts," they wrote. "This was a Russian attack on a U.S. company and on our economy."

The Alliance has found that other countries are following Russia's lead, including China, which has planted fake news stories in Taiwan to incite protests, and Turkey, where social media efforts are being made to try to influence European policy debates, Morell and Rogers wrote, and they expect such efforts to reach the United States.

They said the Obama-era sanctions put in place after the 2016 election against Russia were "steps in the right direction," but as they were not enough to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin, further deterrence steps are needed.

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The United States did not establish deterrence against Russia following the 2016 election, and as a result, the country is continuing its use of social media against the United States...
michael morell, mike rogers, russia, cyberattacks, social media
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 08:23 AM
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