Russia set up fake liberal network to help Trump win election – NYT

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The White House has sought to control the flow of information concerning foreign threats to the election in recent weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are seen during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 (photo credit: MARCOS BRINDICCI/REUTERS)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin are seen during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018
(photo credit: MARCOS BRINDICCI/REUTERS)
A Kremlin-backed group created a network of fake accounts and a fake Liberal website as part of a disinformation campaign designed to assist US President Donald Trump, Facebook and Twitter said, according to The New York Times.
According to the NYT, the Internet Research Agency, which reportedly interfered in the 2016 presidential election, launched the campaign to push potential Democratic voters away from presidential candidate Joe Biden.
US agencies have reportedly warned of such interference in the upcoming November election, warning that Russian intelligence had been feeding conspiracy theories. According to the NYT’s report, Facebook and Twitter have now offered evidence of Russian meddling in the presidential election.
According to The NYT, the White House has sought to control the flow of information concerning foreign threats to the election in recent weeks, downplaying Russian interference and suggesting China poses a more substantial threat to the election’s integrity.
“I’ve seen intelligence. That’s what I’ve concluded,” US Attorney-General William Barr said Wednesday in support of his claims concerning potential Chinese meddling in the presidential election.
Barr added, however, that there was “some preliminary activity that suggests” Russia might try to interfere again in the election. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Russia tries something again,” he said.
According to The Times, the group’s fake Liberal website, called “Peace Data,” used false personas with computer-generated images in an effort to create the appearance of an actual news organization.
While the reach of the Kremlin-backed campaign has reportedly not been as large as the one achieved in 2016, Russian intelligence reportedly hired real US citizens to write for Peace Data.
According to two anonymous US intelligence officials cited by the report, the recently-discovered activities of the Internet Research Agency on Facebook and Twitter seemed designed to be detected.
According to the report, the Kremlin-backed group’s fake website engaged in “information laundering,” a practice reportedly used by Russian intelligence in the past for placing articles into fringe websites, feeding disinformation to the public.
According to Russian state media outlet TASS, Russian authorities deny the claims of meddling in the US presidential election. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zacharova said US sanctions will only lead to the deterioration of DC’s relationship with Moscow, failing to achieve anything beyond that.
The report came as TASS said earlier this week that Concord Management and Consulting was not under Interpol investigation as of August 28, accusing the agency and the US government of “unlawful persecution” of Concord’s CEO, Oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who owns the Internet Research Agency.
According to Radio Liberty, Prigonzhin was previously sanctioned by the US government for “destabilizing global activity,” as the Kremlin-linked financier’s private military company, the Wagner Group, has allegedly engaged in conflict across the Middle East and the post-Soviet space, including the Ukrainian civil war.
Reuters contributed to this report.

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