The indictments were announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as part of the ongoing special counsel probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. FILE - This July 3, 2014, file photo, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft said Monday, June 13, 2016, it is buying professional networking service site LinkedIn for about $26.2 billion. LinkedIn, based in Mountain View, Calif., has more than 430 million members. Microsoft has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections, the technology giant reported Tuesday.
President Donald Trump trashed the Russia investigation once again last week at a rally in West Virginia, saying that "there were no Russians in our campaign" and denouncing "a total fabrication" to enthralled supporters. "Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania?" he asked mockingly. "Are there any Russians here tonight? There may well have been, for anyone in the crowd scrolling through a smartphone. As Trump spoke, Russian-linked social-media networks were busy attacking Trump's national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, using the same type of digital operations that the Kremlin deployed against the 2016 presidential election.
Former New York State Homeland Security Director Michael Balboni says Russians have used American technology against the U.S. Operatives of the Kremlin-linked troll farm called the Internet Research Agency reportedly created Twitter accounts pretending to be local newspapers -- and shared real local stories rather than fake news. According to NPR, at least 48 separate Twitter accounts were created well before the 2016 presidential election and were designed to look like legitimate city newspapers. In some cases, they used names of newspapers from the past, such as the Chicago Daily News, which folded in 1978. The accounts, some of which gathered nearly 20,000 followers, didn't purposely spread false news and instead shared credible local news stories without any particular slant. NPR notes that the plan for such accounts was to create trust among media consumers before starting to infuse misinformation into its shared posts.
Twitter trolls run by the Kremlin's Internet Research Agency. Denial of service attacks and ransomware deployed across Ukraine. Spies hidden in the heart of Wall Street. And a century-old fabricated staple of anti-Semitic hate literature. At first glance these disparate phenomena might seem only vaguely connected. Sure, they can all be traced back to Russia. But is there any method to their badness? The definitive answer, according to Russia experts inside and outside the US government, is most certainly yes. In fact, they are part of an increasingly digital intelligence playbook known as "active measures," a wide-ranging set of techniques and strategies that Russian military and intelligence services deploy to influence the affairs of nations across the globe. As the investigation into Russia's influence on the 2016 election--and the Trump campaign's potential participation in that effort--has intensified this summer, the Putin regime's systematic effort to undermine and destabilize democracies has become the subject of urgent focus in the West. According to interviews with more than a dozen US and European intelligence officials and diplomats, Russian active measures represent perhaps the biggest challenge to the Western order since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The consensus: Vladimir Putin, playing a poor hand economically and demographically at home, is seeking to destabilize the multilateral institutions, partnerships, and Western democracies that have kept the peace during the past seven decades.