The fight against Russian interference in the elections: a new round

Intelligence agencies warn of the need to counter Russian propaganda in the run-up to the midterm elections

In anticipation of the November midterm elections, American intelligence agencies and legislators warn that the Kremlin is once again trying to influence the election, conducting a coordinated campaign of disinformation.

At the end of 2016 it was decided to allocate the Department $ 120 million to combat external interference in the elections, however, according to us media reports, these funds have not been disbursed.

The task of countering Russian propaganda is assigned to created when the state Department Center for global engagement. Its role is in the analysis of Russian efforts and the conduct of counter-information campaign.

“There are thousands of former Russian journalists who were dismissed or expelled from the country… We could help,” said Richard Stengel, in charge of the Center for global engagement in the Obama administration.

According to him, significant results could be achieved by conducting coordinated campaigns, drawing attention to the role of the Russian “Troll factories” or activity of the Russian mercenaries in Ukraine and Syria.

At the end of President Obama’s term, the Congress has ordered the Pentagon to allocate $ 60 million to the state Department, that the Department has coordinated interagency efforts to combat anti-democratic propaganda from Russia and China, including with the participation of the Ministry of defense and Ministry of internal security. This program is conducted separately from other possible government actions, such as cyber attacks.

On September 18 the state Department has sent the defense Ministry a request for transfer of funds, however, because until the end of the fiscal year was only a few days, the Pentagon found that the state Department has missed the chance to receive these funds.

For the next fiscal year it also provided funding in the amount of $ 60 million, and two offices for five months conducted negotiations about how much money ultimately will be able to obtain a Department of state.

At the state Department say that they expect to receive funds in April. Deputy Secretary Steve Goldstein pledged a million dollars from its own budget office to provide a fast launch initiative.

“This funding is of great importance in order to continue aggressive counter the malicious influence of misinformation,” said Goldstein.

In this high-ranking defense Ministry spokesman mark E. Mitchell on Wednesday said that a long discussion before the state Department will be able to get at least part of the promised $ 40 million.