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Quote of the Day: Russian Agents Use Cheap and Effective Methods to Sabotage American Social Media

2018-02-25

From the Hill:

A former FBI official said Sunday that Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election was cheap and effective in sowing discord between Americans.
Leo Taddeo, the former special agent in charge of the Special Operations/Cyber Division of the FBI’s New York office, told AM 970 The Answer’s John Catsimatidis that the Russian meddling described in indictments filed by Robert Mueller’s special counsel office “really undermined” American democracy.
“I think it’s fairly clear the Russians have a cheap and effective way to sow discord and confusion and really undermined the basic principles of democracy,” Taddeo said. “It really wouldn’t matter what the issue was, as long as people were disagreeing.”

. . .

“If Americans aren’t so confident in their president or the Congress or their government in general, then it makes America weaker when it comes time to act on the foreign stage … It’s a brilliant use of a simple technique that’s cheap relative to other intelligence operations [designed] to weaken us,” Taddeo added.

. . .

“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters while announcing the indictments.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” the deputy attorney general added.

The purpose of Russian activities– which we can call “sabotage” although it no longer involves throwing wooden shoes into machinery– is to weaken American confidence in their essential institutions, especially the democratic process.  Russians particularly dislike democracy because it interferes with the ability of their oligarchs (rich men in industry) to control the government by monopolizing the positions of power held by elected officials.  With democracy, positions of power are elective– held by the consent of the people who are governed; in an oligarchy, positions of power are permanently usurped by a few wealthy individuals.

The social media used by the Russians for their sabotage are inherently unstable and prone to causing dissension.  Users of these media feel free to espouse extreme views because they feel anonymous when posting on large, faceless sites like Facebook and Twitter.  There are almost no consequences for posting offensive speech.

 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.com and Anestiev)

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