Fake About Fakes: Russian Election Commission Airs Apparently Falsified Video Sullying Its Critics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

In a separate development, tens of thousands of pro-government bloggers participated in a coordinated campaign to spread positive reports about the course of the parliamentary elections […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow To Check Electronic Votes for State Duma in Recount” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Independent data scientists and analysts said that half of all the votes attributed to United Russia in the official results were probably fake — a level of falsification previously unseen in Russian parliamentary elections [. ..]

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Russia Says Ukraine Organized Gas Pipeline Attack In Crimea

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Oilprice.com – Charles Kennedy – Sept. 7, 2021) Russia accused on Tuesday Ukraine’s military intelligence of having organized an attack on a natural gas pipeline in Crimea at the end of last month, in another escalation of tensions between Moscow and Kyiv. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014, straining the bilateral relations between one of Europe’s key natural […]

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British Researchers Say Pro-Russian Influence Operation Targets Western News Websites

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

The websites of several prominent Western news outlets have been targeted by a pro-Russian influence operation that uses the websites’ comment sections to distort public opinion […]

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Free Russia Foundation: “New Report on the Kremlin’s Malign Influence Inside the U.S.”

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

Subject: New Report on the Kremlin’s Malign Influence Inside the US Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2021 From: Natalya Lunde <natalyaa@4freerussia.org> Free Russia Foundation releases a new report The Kremlin’s Malign Influence Inside the United States edited by Michael Weiss. 4freerussia.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/TheKremlinsMalignInfluenceInsidetheUS.pdf The report’s chapters take a close look at: The Kremlin’s Interference in the US Energy Sector Investments in Critical Infrastructure […]

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Putin Says Russia Is Ready To Hand Over Cybercriminals, But Only If U.S. Does The Same

Gas Pump File Photo with Nozzle in Car

… a cybercriminal group that U.S. authorities said operates from Russia penetrated a pipeline operator on the U.S. East Coast, locking its systems and demanding a ransom. … caus[ing] a shutdown … [leading] to a spike in gas prices, panic buying, and localized fuel shortages […]

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Punitive Response to SolarWinds Would Be Misplaced, But Cyber Deterrence Still Matters

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Erica D. Borghard – March 31, 2021) Erica D. Borghard is a senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. She also serves as a senior director on the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission. This op-ed is part of a new debate from Russia Matters and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “About the Kremlin Propaganda — Our Democracy Needs To Be Protected” – Bild

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“As a dictator, … Putin has continued what he failed to do as a KGB agent in the GDR [East Germany] … his fight against a freedom-loving Germany and a united Europe. For years, Putin has been running riot with impunity in [Germany]. … buying off influential ex-politicians with lucrative oil projects, such as Nord Stream 2. … support[ing] the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “CIA Nominee Burns Promises Spying Focus on China, Seeing ‘Adversarial, Predatory’ Regime” – Wall Street Journal/ Warren P. Strobel

File Photo of Beijing Temple, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“Veteran diplomat pledges to deliver bad news to policy makers, after senators note tumult of Trump years.” “[The nominee] pick[ed] to … lead the Central Intelligence Agency told lawmakers he would intensify the spy agency’s focus on China, calling ‘an adversarial, predatory Chinese leadership’ the U.S.’s ‘biggest geopolitical test.’ … William J. Burns said …. ‘For CIA, that will mean […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: NEW BOOK: “Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation” – Jamestown Foundation/ Thomas Kent

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

Disinformation by Russia and its allies has increased sharply … Western responses have been weak and uncoordinated … Striking Back presents concrete recommendations for aggressive messaging to combat Russian disinformation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biden faces first foreign policy test with Russian balancing act; White House seeks arms control pact even as it warns of consequences for Navalny arrest” – Financial Times/ Katrina Manson, Henry Foy, Lauren Fedor

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… the White House said … it wanted a straight extension of [New START for five years,] a nuclear arms control agreement … fac[ing] imminent expiry …. even as incoming officials have condemned … the Kremlin’s [reputedly] most aggressive anti-western actions in years. … U.S. security services [recently] uncovered a massive cyber-espionage attack on U.S. government computers … blamed on […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s Trump’s Last Chance to Declassify These Secrets of the Russia Collusion Dud” – Real Clear Investigations/Aaron Maté

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… [V]oluminous public records – including investigative reports from … Mueller, Congress and … [DOJ’s] inspector general – have established that Trump and his associates were targeted with a baseless Russian collusion allegation. … fraudulent claim[s] originat[ing] with the Hillary Clinton campaign … fueled by … false or deceptive intelligence leaks … improperly investigated by the FBI, potentially to the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Political appointees, career analysts clashed over assessments of Russian, Chinese interference in 2020 election” – Washington Post/ Ellen Nakashima

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

“… [P]olitical appointees clashed with career intelligence analysts over the extent to which Russia and China interfered or sought to interfere in the 2020 election, … each side accusing the other of politicization, according to a report by … Barry A. Zulauf, … [ODNI] ‘analytic ombudsman’ …, describ[ing] an intelligence community afflicted by a ‘widespread perception in the workforce about […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. officials suspect Russia in mystery ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Cuba, China” – CNBC/ Josh Lederman, Courtney Kube, Abigail Williams, Ken Dilanian

Artist's Rendition of Head and Brain, adapted from .gov image at lbl.gov

“Intelligence agencies investigating mysterious ‘attacks’ … [leading] to brain injuries in U.S. personnel in Cuba and China consider Russia … the main suspect, three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation [said] …. backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence, amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style Tracking System – Open Media” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow plans to track its residents’ “loyalty” with detailed digital profiles […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Call Putin’s Bluff on Election Interference; The United States Should Take Russia Up on Its Offer to Sign a Pledge” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

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

“The Kremlin has … pushed proposals for the United States and Russia to work together to protect elections against hacking …. Putin expanded the proposal into a package deal: the two countries would pledge not to interfere in each other’s internal political processes, and they would also restore dialogue, devise a mechanism to prevent cyberattacks, and share information on cybersecurity. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Navalny Says He is Breathing on His Own in a Message From His Hospital Bed; The poisoned Russian opposition leader plans to return to Russia, his spokeswoman says.” – New York Times/ Katrin Bennhold, Michael Schwirtz

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“… The message came hours after a senior German security official … [said] Navalny was awake, alert and had told German prosecutors that he was refusing to cooperate with a Russian inquiry into his case. He also vowed … to return to Russia as soon as possible to continue his work. … German officials now say they have almost no […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH:”FSB admits to ‘close’ surveillance of Russian opposition activist Navalny, who was medivaced to Berlin after suspected poison attack” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“… Navalny arrived at Berlin’s Charité hospital … in a police convoy from Tegel Airport and remains under heavy guard with three cordons of police …. [after] nearly two days in [the] [Omsk] hospital …. The [FSB] statement … surprising in … [its] level of detail … throw[s] … light on just how heavily Navalny’s movements are monitored …. admitt[ing] […]

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Exposing Putin’s Hidden Riches Won’t Stop Russia’s Election Meddling

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Lincoln Pigman – Aug. 19, 2020) Lincoln Pigman is a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Center and an alumnus of King’s College London’s Department of War Studies and Oxford University’s School of Global and Area Studies. Four years have passed since the alarm was first raised about Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, from its […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin is reckless because we allow him to be” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin keeps defying the norms of international behavior. … Intelligence agencies have … evidence … Russian military intelligence officers, from … shadowy Unit 29155 of the GRU, paid … Taliban … whose bombing killed three U.S. Marines in … 2019. … [S]ources … [claim] forensic links between the [Afghan operation] GRU officers … and GRU colleagues who carried out […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies” – New York Times Magazine/ Robert Draper

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

“Last year, intelligence officials gathered to write a classified report on Russia’s interest in the 2020 election. An investigation from the magazine uncovered what happened next.” “… the O.D.N.I. at last acknowledged publicly that Russia ‘is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate … Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia “establishment.”‘ … also assert[ing] for the first […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Chat Group Becomes Target of Moscow’s Wrath as Security Crackdown Widens” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“The group started out as an online discussion of hobbies, schoolwork and sometimes politics. But then it was infiltrated by an informer for Russia’s all-powerful security services.” “… [T]he chat group … was joined by a new member who promoted unusually strident views … and pushed to turn the online chatter into a political movement …. [He] gave his name […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Is No Russian Plot Against America; The Kremlin’s Electoral Interference Is All Madness and No Method” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

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

“… Researchers and investigators have revealed … activities of [Kremlin-connected] Russian actors … during the 2016 election. … [yet with] comparatively little information about the real impact[,] … still less about … precise objectives. … Russian officials say and write a great deal about the United States …. What emerges is not a cunning, systematic scheme to corrode American democracy […]

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Report: U.S. Officials Say Russia-Backed Websites Spread Coronavirus Disinformation

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

U.S. officials have identified three English-language websites that they say Russia is using to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to exploit the U.S. struggle to contain the outbreak […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Intelligence Agencies Push Disinformation on Pandemic” – New York Times/ Julian E. Barnes, David E. Sanger

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

“Declassified U.S. intelligence accuses Moscow of pushing propaganda through alternative websites as Russia refines techniques used in 2016.” “… Russian military intelligence, … the G.R.U., has used … ties with … Russian government information center[] InfoRos[] and other websites to push out English-language disinformation and propaganda about the pandemic, such as amplifying false Chinese arguments that the virus was created […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Joe Biden May Want to Forget About the Russia Investigation” – Wall Street Journal/ Gerard Baker

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag, adapted from image from RIA Novosti

The candidate struggles to field softballs from friendly media. … It’s well past time … Biden was asked … what he knew about … serious malfeasance by [Obama administration] officials [in the Russiagate investigation targeting the Trump campaign]. … We know … Biden was kept abreast of … the investigation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Drew Holden: Remember the Steele dossier? ….” – twitter post

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Remember the Steele dossier?  … Now that its been thoroughly discredited, anyone care for a trip down memory lane about how folks in the media hyped it up because it made Trump look bad? […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Unasked FBI Question: Why? G-men rightly debunked the Steele dossier. And then peddled it anyway.” – Wall Street Journal/ Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“New revelations … more emphatically underline a question nobody seems willing to ask: Why did the FBI fan a Russia collusion confabulation that it knew was unfounded, false and baseless? The obvious answer is not so much rejected as turned away from: because the FBI, and specifically … Comey, had a powerful interest in changing the subject from … Comey’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What does the Russia report mean for British people and politics? Luke Harding considers the implications of the report on Moscow’s meddling” – The Guardian

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

“… The Russia report accuses the government of failing to investigate Russian interference in British politics, in particular during the 2016 EU referendum. The Commons intelligence and security committee[] … says Downing Street showed a ‘lack of curiosity’ over Kremlin meddling. … [not] say[ing] whether this complacency was deliberate or an omission[,] [e]ither way … a stunning rebuke of Boris […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “To Secure the Election: Tame the Russian Bear in Cyberspace” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Scott Jasper

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“As the U.S. presidential election approaches, U.S. Cyber Command will have to consider tougher measures to impose costs that change Russia’s behavior in cyberspace.” “… As it weighs its options, Cyber Command will undoubtedly conduct thorough planning and risk assessments that consider the possibility of Russian retaliation and discovery or reuse of exploits that the command uses against it. That […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Putin pushed aside the oligarchs and made Russia his own” – Washington Post/ Anders Åslund

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

In her deeply researched new book, Catherine Belton tells a dark tale of … Putin’s rise to power and … 20 years as [Russian] leader …. ‘Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West‘ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Authorities Are Targeting Journalists, Historians and Activists. The Rest of Us Could Be Next” – Moscow Times/ Ilya Klishin

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

What’s going on? Nobody knows, but this time it really is scary […]

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AUDIO JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Denies Allegations It Paid Militants To Kill U.S. Troops As ‘Nonsense'” – NPR/ Lucian Kim

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… The Russian Foreign Ministry said the initial … New York Times [story] demonstrated the ‘low intellectual abilities of U.S. intelligence propagandists.’ … Putin[] spokesman[] Dmitry Peskov[] called subsequent reports ‘hoaxes’ … damag[ing] the reputation of the media that publish them.  Russian officials spend a lot of time refuting allegations of malfeasance, from the poisoning of a former Russian spy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Famous ex-defence reporter arrested, accused of treason” – bne Intellinews

FSB Building file photo

“In what appears to be an escalating crackdown on Russian journalists by the Federal Security Service (FSB), famous defence reporter Ivan Safronov was arrested … and charged with treason. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted. The arrest is only the latest of a series of arrests and cases brought against leading Russian journalists who have simply […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Kremlin’s View of U.S.’s War in Afghanistan Has Shifted” – Wall Street Journal/ Alan Cullison

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Deteriorating U.S.-Russian ties adversely affect a once-shared goal, leading to a U.S. intelligence assessment of bounties paid to Taliban.” “For years … the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants …. [T]hat … crumbled … amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today… [there is] […]

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What Does Russia Want In Afghanistan?

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

… Trump tweeted that the intelligence reports were not deemed credible and the Kremlin and the Taliban have rejected reports alleging that officers of the GRU – Russia’s foreign military intelligence — either paid or offered money for killing American soldiers […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Criminal Group Finds New Target: Americans Working at Home” – New York Times/ David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth

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

A hacking group calling itself Evil Corp., indicted in December, has shown up in corporate networks with sophisticated ransomware. American officials worry election infrastructure could be next […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian disinformation operation relied on forgeries, fake posts on 300 platforms, new report says” – Washington Post/ Ellen Nakashima, Craig Timberg

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

“The report underscores the ambition, sweep and scale of Russian disinformation operations” “Russian operatives used online forgeries, fake blog posts and more than 300 social media platforms to undermine opponents and spin disinformation about perceived enemies throughout the world, including in the United States, according to a new report ….  The list of figures that operatives targeted over six years […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “FBI spread claim Trump worked with Russia, declassified document shows” – New York Post/ Steven Nelson

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“A newly declassified document reveals FBI officials circulated sensational claims that … Trump ‘worked with’ Russia in 2016 and that his campaign was offered ‘financial compensation’ to drop U.S. sanctions, but didn’t disclose that the claims came from an opposition researcher for the Democrats. … former British spy Christopher Steele … detailed by the FBI in a classified annex to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, Seeking to Bolster its Influence, Steps Up Intervention in Libyan Conflict” – CNSNews/ Dimitri Simes

U.S. Africa Command Screenshot from Defense Department Video of Russian Fighter Jet in Flight

“Russia is reportedly stepping up … involvement in the Libyan civil war … in recent years … a heated proxy conflict drawing in numerous foreign players … [with] a range of motives. … U.S. Africa Command issued a statement, … with satellite imagery, accusing Russia of deploying 14 fighter jets to Libya in support of the Wagner Group, a Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Skripals Relocate to New Zealand Following Russian Poisoning Attempt – Reports” – Moscow Times

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia have relocated to New Zealand two years after suffering a near-fatal poisoning attempt that Britain pins on Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Vindication of Michael Flynn; Justice drops its prosecution with new evidence about the FBI” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

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

“… Justice … dropped its case against Michael Flynn … ‘with prejudice[]’ …. [E]vidence … undermines the credibility of James Comey’s FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the entire ‘Russia collusion’ investigation. [R]etired Army general [Flynn] … initially pleaded guilty to making false statements … when two agents interviewed him at the White House shortly after he took over as […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Made men; The enduring grip of the men-and mindset-of the KGB” – The Economist

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

A meticulous account of Vladimir Putin’s consolidation of power in Russia. “… as [Catherine] Belton shows [in Putin’s People], the continuity between the Soviet agency that nurtured … Putin as a young officer, and the security-based behemoths that bestride today’s Russia lies less in institutions than in mentality. … that believes anybody can be turned; that advantage can be sought […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senate panel backs assessment that Russia interfered in 2016” – AP/ Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker

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

“A [heavily redacted] bipartisan Senate report … confirms the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to sow chaos. Senators warned that it could happen again …. This is the fourth of five reports the Senate panel will release …. Previous reports reviewed Russian efforts to breach state election systems and manipulate social media, and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Long War Against American Science” – New York Times/ William J. Broad

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses. “… the pandemic has swept the globe … accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information – an ‘infodemic,’ according to the [WHO] …. Analysts say … Putin … has played a principal role […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “AG Barr just signaled that things are about to get ugly for the Russia collusion team” – The Hill/ Kevin R. Brock

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

“… The AG is logically being briefed on the progress and findings of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation, which he commissioned to examine how the empty Russia collusion case got started in the first place and if it involved any wrongdoing on the part of the government. It is a safe bet that … Durham is collecting evidence beyond the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Cold War roots of Putin’s digital-age intelligence strategy” – Washington Post/ Greg Myre

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

“Spying may be the world’s second-oldest profession, but … Putin has certainly given it a fresh makeover. To fully grasp what Russia did in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and hopes to replicate … – … look back to the end of the Cold War. Putin was a young Soviet KGB officer in Dresden, East Germany … as the […]

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