At PowerPost, Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey and Craig Timberg report that “Top Democrats on Tuesday called on Facebook and Twitter to investigate what lawmakers said are Russian efforts to promote the release of a classified Republican memo criticizing the FBI probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign.”Further, say the PowerPost writers,
Hashtags such as “#ReleaseTheMemo” have been trending on Twitter in recent days, and accounts affiliated with Russian influence efforts have been supporting this campaign, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based group that examines efforts by Russia and other nations to interfere in democratic institutions.
“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process,” said a letter to Facebook and Twitter from Rep. Adam B. Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats from California who are the top members of their party on the House Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively.
The revelations won’t come as a jaw-dropper to anyone who has been paying attention to Putin’s doings in recent years. The notion that Russian meddling in U.S. presidential elections was a one-time project, never to be again repeated makes no sense, considering Putin’s aggressive approach to international relations and his commitment to leveraging Russia’s intelligence resources to the fullest.
Democrats, however, have dismissed the Republican campaign to publish the memo as a bid to undermine a legitimate law enforcement investigation into Trump’s campaign and transition. Democrats also have said that releasing information in the memo would amount to a break from past practice in the handling of classified material.
…In alleging involvement by Russian trolls and bots, Schiff and Feinstein cite the Alliance for Securing Democracy, part of the German Marshall Fund. The group hosts on its website a dashboard that tracks roughly 600 accounts that the group says echo or otherwise support Russian influence efforts, though in some cases this is done unwittingly, according to information posted on the site.
…“This should be disconcerting to all Americans, but especially your companies as, once again, it appears the vast majority of their efforts are concentrated on your platforms,” Schiff and Feinstein wrote. “This latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continuing campaign to manipulate American public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions.”
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