This 2/9/19 issue of “Spy Agency Happenings!” is all about Russian disinformation, how it affects America’s democratic institutions, and how the government is combatting it.
Learn about the infamous Russian troll farm in St Petersburg and how it has ramped up its disinformation campaign against America. This pro-Putin, oligarch-funded operation spent nearly as much in the first six months of 2018 as it did the entire year before. Between Jan. 2016 and June 2018, the Internet Research Agency’s total budget was over $35 million (more than 2 billion rubles).
The 2/9/19 “Spy Agency Happenings!” issue also warns about a new hi-tech graphic that will make the spreading of disinformation and distrust online much worse than ever before. Rapid advances in deep-learning algorithms to synthesize video and audio content have made possible the production of “deep fakes”—highly realistic and difficult-to-detect depictions of real people doing or saying things they never said or did. Expect to receive this realistic trash not only from Russia, but from an ever-larger array of governments, nonstate actors, and individuals. We all will be affected as this ability to advance lies using hyper-realistic, fake evidence takes a huge leap forward.
The issue also reports on how the U.S. Cyber Command targets individual Russian operatives to try to deter them from spreading disinformation to interfere in future elections, telling them that American operatives have identified them and are tracking their work. The Justice Department outlined a campaign of "information warfare" by the Russians aimed at influencing the midterm elections- it highlights the broad threat that the American government sees from Moscow’s influence campaign.
The newsletter also introduces a website called Polygraph.info, which is not run by the White House, State Department or CIA. It published recordings by Russian trolls from one of its reporters who got them from a source close to the Kremlin. Polygraph is a relatively new fact-checking arm of an obscure, diminutive media effort by the U.S. to highlight Russian misdeeds and counter Russian propaganda.
Lastly, view our VIDEOS section of the 2/9/19 “Spy Agency Happenings” issue! It’s devoted to Russian disinformation-spreading. The videos show how Russian trolls collect your personal information, how they weaponize your social media feed, the inside of Russia's internet 'troll factory', and how to spot a Russian troll online. One video shows how Tucker of Fox News pushes 'Russian propaganda'.
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and writes the "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster of the Caribbean and Florida Keys" spy series. Contact him HERE.