Peer-Reviewed Politics

State Department Records Show Senate Republicans Knew About Russian Disinformation & Failed to Tell the Public — Again

US intelligence analysts picked up chatter last month that emails like those revealed yesterday by the NYPost would be leaked in October, having been stolen by the same GRU unit that hacked the DNC. One worry was Russia would mix in forgeries.

The Hunter Biden investigation that spent taxpayer dollars investigating known Russian disinformation, found nothing illegal and no new information on Hunter Biden. The timeline on it should also raise some flags. For a more full report on what about this investigation should raise red flags, you can read the follow-up and consider the pattern of behavior described below.

What they did find is more shocking in the context of yesterday’s New York Post, given the federal government knew about it.

The GOP Senate investigation gave the Russian disinformation on Hunter Biden credibility, or as Mitt Romney says it was a “political exercise.” Using the state against political opponents is the hallmark of Russian and Chinese regimes. That this furthering of disinformation and withholding of the truth is neither the first instance nor the only type of use of the federal government against an opponent should worry anyone who values democracy.

US intelligence analysts picked up chatter last month that emails like those revealed yesterday by the NYPost would be leaked in October, having been stolen by the same GRU unit that hacked the DNC. One worry was Russia would mix in forgeries.

Despite this, Americans were not warned just as they were not warned when we received reports early in the year that Russia would further the idea that Vice President Joseph Biden’s stutter was evidence of degenerative illness. For further information on that, see DHS Withheld Intelligence on Russian Disinformation. How it Happened is the real story.

The White House has also withheld information from public health professionals on the Covid-19 outbreak. The information was critical to making calls at the local level. Public statements made by White House officials conflicted with the information they withheld from the public, showing they knowingly mislead public health experts along with everyone else.

The article details how an illegally appointed DHS head stopped information slated for public release. The disinformation then appeared in the Trump campaign and was amplified by known associates of the current President.

The same exact pattern of behavior has happened again. Disinformation found by government officials failed to reach the public as would be expected. The benefit is that the first interaction many had with the story was one where it was delivered as credible. You can read about the Russian propaganda model here. It may sound eerily familiar.

Even with contrary information, propaganda research shows that claiming something first has a great advantage.

Repeating something false makes people more likely to accept it as well.

State Department records pinpointed where and when this conspiracy theory was hatched. It’s no more true now than it was in a Russian-controlled Crimea city in December 2015. Anyone amplifying these lies is amplifying Russian disinformation.

Russia has been pushing lies about the Bidens and Burisma for nearly five years. There’s nothing left to debunk so it’s no surprise Russia would resort to manufacturing dirt. Nobody should believe it.

House Foreign Affairs Committee | Oct 15, 2020

US intelligence analysts picked up chatter last month that emails like those revealed yesterday by the NYPost would be leaked in October

Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released a summary of the 16,000-plus pages that the Department of State produced to the Committee last week reiterating the baselessness of the Senate Republicans’ dirty campaign against the President’s political rival. The records demonstrate a consistent U.S. policy toward Ukraine during Vice President Biden’s tenure focused on fighting corruption and point to the Russian origins of the disinformation that underpinned that Senate Republicans’ conspiracy theory.

Chairman Engel made the following statement:

“After the Committee reviewed the State Department documents produced last week, I started to wonder how Senate Republicans could possibly weave such an innocuous stack of paper into a conspiracy theory. As this morning’s Senate report clearly indicates, they couldn’t. If anything, the State Department records are embarrassing for the Trump Administration, because they’re a reminder of days when the State Department, along with Vice President Biden’s leadership, exercised a clear, consistent policy to fight corruption, free from the nepotism, conflicts of interests, and nefarious foreign actors we’ve seen so often with Donald Trump.”

“The 16,000 pages the State Department finally turned over to the Committee show three years of the Obama Administration working to fight corruption in Ukraine, from embassy staff all the way up to former Vice President Biden. They show a lobbying campaign that tried unsuccessfully to rehabilitate the image of the corrupt oligarch who headed Burisma when the Obama Administration stood firm.”

“And they show where and when this entire political hit job against the former Vice President originated: a small city in Russian-controlled Crimea nearly five years ago. What they don’t show is anything approaching wrongdoing by the former Vice President.”

“Senate Republicans have wasted most of this year trying to breathe new life into this conspiracy theory. Mike Pompeo directed the State Department to support the effort, producing stacks of paper, apparently rushed to the Senate so quickly that the Department didn’t even bother to redact sensitive and unrelated information — a departure from the heavy-handed redacting we’ve come to expect from the Department during this administration. But the lie that started with Vladimir Putin and his internet trolls is still a lie. The goal of Russian propaganda may be to cloud reality so much that we just stop caring about what’s true and what’s fake. But facts still matter.”

The summary of the State Department records can be found here.

A timeline of events surrounding the records can be found here.

Timeline of Events: Records Show Consistent, Unwavering Support for Tackling Corruption in Ukraine


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