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FBI director hypes ‘365-days-a-year threat’ from election-meddling Russia

FBI director hypes ‘365-days-a-year threat’ from election-meddling Russia
FBI Director Christopher Wray has confirmed that anti-Russian hype is not going anywhere, claiming that Moscow will try to interfere in the 2020 US presidential election, and has been ‘spinning up’ Americans every day.

“What has continued pretty much unabated is the use of social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up,” Wray told the Council on Foreign Relations last Friday.

Russian intelligence agencies seek to “pit us against each other, sow divisiveness, discord, undermine Americans’ faith in democracy,” the Bush Jr. assistant attorney general added.

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He said the 2020 election would be a repeat of both the 2016 race as well as 2018’s congressional election, in which US intelligence agencies have alleged Russian interference.

Cutting against Wray’s dire warnings, however, are two Senate-commissioned studies published last year examining the actual impact of alleged Kremlin meddling. Both studies found that the social media activities of the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) – an alleged “troll factory” that Washington is accusing of being an internet warfare outfit – had negligible impact on the 2016 election, and that only 11 percent of the IRA’s online content had anything to do with the race at all.

The studies also found the IRA spent microscopic amounts of money on social media ads – comprising around half of one percent of the combined $81 million spent on Facebook ads by candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The alleged conspiracy between Kremlin and Donald Trump, which Clinton and her supporters have blamed at least partially for her loss in 2016, was also disproved by the nearly two-year-long investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Still, the hardcore Russia-blamers refuse to let go, with Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez announcing that the US is at cyberwar with Russia.

Wray’s hyped-up counterintelligence threat is sure to do some ‘spinning up’ of its own amid ongoing demands for additional investigation into President Trump and his alleged Russian ties.

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