NEWSLINK: “Nobody is safe from Russia’s colossal hacking operation; Russia hackers have targetted ‘millions’ of connected devices in the UK and US. It’s all part of Putin’s grand plan to disrupt the west” – Wired (UK)/Nicole Kobie

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… this week U.S. and U.K. authorities teamed up to issue a joint warning about communications infrastructure, including home-office routers. The rare joint alert noted that routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems at government and businesses were the main targets of Russian hackers, but it added that even “small-office/home-office customers” should take more protective action, as should Internet […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Arizona Election Database Targeted in 2016 by Criminals, Not Russia: Source” – Reuters

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“A hack on an Arizona election database … [in] 2016 … was carried out by suspected criminal actors … not the Russian government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters …. responding to a report on … ’60 Minutes’ citing an internal government document that Russian hackers … infiltrated computer systems associated with at least four U.S. states, including Arizona, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wormed Its Way Into Access at Power Plants, U.S. Says; Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says” – New York Times

Electrical Yard file photo

“The Trump administration accused Russia … of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will. United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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NEWSWATCH: “External Interference Narratives in Russian and U.S. Politics: Conspiracy Theorizing Meets Whataboutism” [Excerpt]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Serghei Golunov – February 2018) Serghei Golunov is Professor at the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University, Japan. [Full text ponarseurasia.org/memo/external-interference-narratives-russian-and-us-politics-conspiracy-theorizing] (PONARS Policy Memo) Conspiracy theories about covert external interference play significant roles in the political discourses of many countries worldwide. In Russia, conspiracy theorizing about U.S. clandestine interference is a long-time, long-term […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem; If there were no Russian “influence operations” in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – February 22, 2018) [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-junes/russian-interference-in-virtual-world-is-not-problem] Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist […]

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NEWSLINK: “Teaching Activities for: ‘Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn'” – New York Times/The Learning Network/Caroline Crosson Gilpin

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Christopher Steele? The man who revealed a vast international conspiracy but didn’t know his own client.” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… the former British spy’s credibility has been dismantled. … the FBI should have known better. … the bureau had every reason to be wary …. He was … a paid political operative, hired by Fusion, as a subcontractor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Opposition researchers are not retained to present considered judgment … [but] to slime an opponent and benefit a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Hackers Hunt Hi-Tech Secrets, Exploiting US Weakness” [excerpt] – AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft …. What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims. The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling” – The Hill/STEPHEN BLANK

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Stephen Blank is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College.”  

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NEWSLINK: “Bedroom hackers bigger threat than Russia, regulator says” – Daily Telegraph (UK)/Hayley Dixon

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Government departments should be more worried about teenage bedroom hackers than state-sponsored cyber terrorists, the Information Commissioner has warned. In a speech to the heads of the civil service and other public bodies, Elizabeth Denham said that most breaches are preventable and bosses should consider the reputational damage as well as financial losses. But rather than panicking about rogue states such as […]

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NEWSLINK: “How top U.S. diplomat pushed back against Russian hacking; Victoria Nuland recalls the moment ‘the hairs went up on the back of our necks.'” – Politico.eu/SUSAN B. GLASSER

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

“By the summer of 2016, Victoria Nuland’s ‘Spidey sense’ told her something was very wrong. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “The Nunes memo and Putin’s long game; As the president and other Republicans directly question the integrity of the FBI and DOJ, analysts and some in the GOP say it only furthers Russian objectives. [Excerpt]” – Politico/Matthew Nussbaum

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Putin might get tired of winning. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community discovered the Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election … some Republicans have been laboring to undermine investigations into the attack and discredit the intelligence agencies that discovered it. … [O]n Friday … House Republicans released a partisan memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.” Click here for: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki  

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NEWSWATCH: “From the Czech Republic, a warning for our midterms: The Russians are still meddling” – Washington Post editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov

“Milos Zeman … [Czech] president … speaks and acts as if he were a pure Russian agent. … defend[ing] the seizure and annexation of Crimea … den[ying] the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine … call[ing] for the lifting of all sanctions …. he reiterated his proposal that Czechs vote in a referendum on whether to remain in NATO […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief” – BBC/Gordon Corera

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year) … Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. ‘I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity,’ … Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump’s Russia Ambassador: U.S.-Russia Relations ‘Done’ if Kremlin Meddles in 2018 Elections; Jon Huntsman tells a room full of lawmakers that Russia is very much on course to play a disruptive role again” – DailyBeast/ Andrew Desiderio

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: COLLUSION [re Luke Harding]” – Irrussaianality/ Paul Robinson

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding … * * *  I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Red mist; How the Russia investigation looks from Moscow; Hyperventilating about Vladimir Putin infuriates Russian liberals, but it has led to a better Russia policy” – The Economist

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Buzzfeed recently broke an explosive story about Russia’s meddling in America’s elections. On August 3rd 2016, it reported, just as the presidential race was entering its final phase, the Russian foreign ministry wired nearly $30,000 through a Kremlin-backed bank to its embassy in Washington, DC, with a remarkable description attached: ‘To finance election campaign of 2016’. … only one of 60 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware the Russian Elephant” – The American Interest/ Peter Pomerantsev

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail. The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ the cognitive linguist George […]

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Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 16, 2017) The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya […]

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NEWSLINK: “Leadership In Russia: Hacking, Trust And Where Do We Go From Here?” – Forbes/ Shellie Karabell

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“… election hacking is only part of the ‘trust’ problem: there’s the Ukraine invasion, Olympic doping scandals, the civil war in Syria. …”

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited, Weak’ Response To Russia

Europe Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, November 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-threat-to-democracy-western-response-european-values-think-tank/28842909.html) A group of security and foreign-policy experts says Western governments have been “limited and weak” in their response to the Kremlin’s barrage of “hostile actions” toward democracies. In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The […]

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NEWSLINK: “WikiLeaks Publishes CIA Hacking Tool Designed To ‘Impersonate’ Russia’s Kaspersky Lab” – ZeroHedge/ Tyler Durden

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“On September 18th, the U.S. Senate voted to ban the use of products from the Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab by the federal government, citing national security risk. The vote was included as an amendment to an annual defense policy spending bill approved by the Senate on the same day and was written to bar the use of Kaspersky […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia hackers had targets worldwide, beyond U.S. election” – Washington Post/AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… [H]ackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election …[also] target[ed] the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list …. the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government … an operation that stretched back years […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Containing Our Intelligence War with Russia; We should be wary of conflating Moscow’s desire to change our international behavior with an intent to destroy our nation” – The National Interest/ George Beebe

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… We must not rely solely on mutual pledges of restraint, however. We must take urgent steps to improve our defenses against cyber sabotage and influence operations. Within the cyber realm, we should make a concerted effort to patch vulnerabilities, update software and employ malware detection systems. This would make cyberattacks more difficult, even if it would not preclude intrusions […]

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NEWSLINK: “Former Clinton, DNC aides largely silent on funding of Trump-Russia dossier” – Washington Post/ Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Hillary Clinton and top officials of her presidential campaign were largely silent Wednesday in response to the revelation that the campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid for research that resulted in a dossier alleging Russian interference on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Neither Clinton nor her campaign manager, Robby Mook, responded …. Campaign chair John […]

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NEWSLINKS DIGEST: More American tales of Russiagate

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

  These Americans Were Tricked Into Working For Russia. They Say They Had No Idea. Buzzfeed.com October 17, 2017   Facebook admits Russia agents used Messenger to disrupt U.S. presidential election Recode.net October 18, 2017 In attempt to sow fear, Russian trolls paid for self-defense classes for African Americans CNN.com October 18, 2017 Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Understanding Russia’s War Stories; Putin’s foreign policy is rooted in an epic myth of betrayal and redemption” – The New Republic/ Sophie Pinkham

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… From the hacking of DNC servers during the presidential campaign to links between Russian officials and Trump’s team, Democrats have leapt at the idea that Trump’s victory resulted from Russian machinations, even though there remains little evidence that the hacks decisively affected the election. Rather than revising their platform to appeal to today’s working class, Democrats have pointed their fingers […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Russia’s propaganda machine amplifies alt-right;’ Fred Weir: ‘I find this quite extraordinary. The suggestion that Russia is behind the pandemonium that currently reigns in Washington strikes me as beyond preposterous. …'”

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Fred Weir – Facebook – August 28, 2017 – facebook.com/fred.weir/posts/10213101665152439) “[‘Russia’s propaganda machine amplifies alt-right’] I find this quite extraordinary. The suggestion that Russia is behind the pandemonium that currently reigns in Washington strikes me as beyond preposterous. That Russian media might exploit fissures and factional battles in US politics — maybe with a certain discernible tone of glee — […]

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NEWSLINK: “Moscow’s cyber-defense. How the Russian government plans to protect the country from the coming cyberwar” – Meduza

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Allegations that Russian hackers stole emails from top Democrats in the United States, in an effort to influence the results of America’s presidential election, are now more than a year old. Last November, Meduza published a detailed look at the operations of Russia’s cyber-soldiers. But a country’s cybersecurity is only as good as its cyber-defense, which is why Meduza’s special correspondent Daniil Turovsky returned to the subject, […]

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How Trump Got Putin Wrong on Cybersecurity; The idea that Russia and the U.S. work out the rules of engagement in cyberspace isn’t crazy.

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 10, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. One of the many challenges of dealing with Donald Trump is that he sometimes misunderstands things. The fallout from Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mending the Gap? Why the DNC mistrusts the FBI” – Economic Principals/ David Warsh

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… The DNC’s reluctance to share its server probably stems from an awareness of lingering antagonisms within the FBI – the natural inference is that there’s presumably something on it that they don’t trust some FBI agents to keep to themselves once seen. Still, the failure to turn over the evidence is just the sort of lever on public opinion […]

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NEWSLINK: “Even Now, Does Mr. Trump Get It on Hacking?” – New York Times editorial

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… it is important that when he held his first presidential face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin on Friday, Mr. Trump began by raising the interference issue and then reportedly pressed him more than once on Russian involvement during the course of their two-hour-and-15-minute conversation. …”

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