Russia: Attack On Our Democracy
On October 7, 2016, the seventeen agencies of our intelligence community concluded with high confidence that Russia was meddling in our elections through hacking, leaks, and the dissemination of fake news.
On January 6, 2017, the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report on Russia’s actions and intentions in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report concluded that:
- These attacks were ordered by President Putin;
- Russia’s goals were to undermine faith in our democracy, to harm Secretary Clinton’s chances of winning, and to help President Trump’s election chances; and
- President Putin and the Russian Government favored President Trump.
In addition to covert intelligence operations that supplied a constant stream of material to WikiLeaks, the Russian government worked to achieve these goals by using government agencies, state-funded media outlets, and paid social media trolls. For example, Facebook has acknowledged that "it has become a battleground for governments seeking to manipulate public opinion in other countries." Using these tools, Russia launched a dangerous fake news campaign intended to make it difficult for Americans to tell the difference between accurate reporting and blatant lies about both presidential candidates and about our own country.
But the most disturbing finding: Russia intends to do this again.
Russia will use the lessons learned from their 2016 attack on our democracy to carry out future attacks on both our democracy and other sovereign nations worldwide. It's clear that President Putin intends to do this again. Republican Senator John McCain has warned that Russia will continue to use cyberattacks “as a part of Vladimir Putin’s ambition to regain Russian prominence and dominance in some parts of the world.” The American people cannot ignore Russia’s actions against us, because doing so will leave our democracy vulnerable to the next attack.
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