Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s interference in U.S. elections has reached the Senate Intelligence Committee calendar. Friday, committee Chair Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina and Ranking Member Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia scheduled the hearing for March 30. Other hearings have been extremely informative.
This hearing will listen to two separate panels. The morning hearing will deal with Russia’s history of interfering in other countries’ campaigns, including the characteristics of the misinformation. The afternoon panel will look at Russia’s role in cyber ops.
The many US intelligence agencies have blamed Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) last summer. There are also rumors that the cyber warfare helped the Donald Trump campaign win the presidential election. Of course, Russia has denied any guilt.
The House’s Foreign Affairs Committee held its hearing March 9th to determine if Moscow was trying to undermine democracy in the US and the EU and splinter NATO. It verified Putin’s influence campaign in the 2016 U.S. elections. Committee Chair Republican Representative Ed Royce of California commented:
‘In January, the U.S. Intelligence Community produced a report which found that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”’
The committee also announced Europe is next in the Russian disinformation campaign. Its attempts failed in Holland’s elections this week. Russia also has every intention of breaking up the West.
Expert witness Executive Vice President at the Center for European Policy Analysis Peter Doran testified before the committee:
‘The Russian government is sharpening its use of state-sponsored propaganda against Western democracies. This puts democratic states and NATO at risk. This committee should have no doubt: Russia is a rival to the United States…Russia wants to establish a sphere of privileged influence in Europe. But to do so, they must weaken America’s links to our allies, divide NATO, and – if necessary – use force.’
After all, Russia has a long disinformation history. It sharpened its propaganda teeth in Eastern Europe before moving on to Central Europe.
Royce suggested the U.S. go on the offense:
‘Why not go on the offense to release information exposing corruption at the Kremlin? We can win by sticking with our allies and reinforcing our democratic values.’
Former US representative to the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Ambassador Daniel Baer testified about some of Putin’s actions:
‘Vladimir Putin’s greatest fear is a democratic, successful, prosperous Ukraine. That is why he’s invading Ukraine and trying to undermine the Ukrainian people’s choice to live in a European-style democracy. He is threatened by democracy’s success.’
The nation will be watching for the Intelligence Committee’s March results.
Check out the Foreign Affairs Committee meeting held earlier this month:
— Foreign Affairs Cmte (@HouseForeign) March 13, 2017
Featured Image: Getty Images/Epsilon.