Former chief of the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, just spoke at an internet disinformation conference in Israel and just about blew the roof off of the building. The impact of Tamir Pardo’s words on the United States was so staggering, it would be advisable to sit down before hearing them.
Tamir Pardo said that Russia chose Donald Trump to be president of these United States. Then, it developed a covert internet campaign to make sure that Trump won the 2016 presidential election. A mere 70,000 votes in the rust belt states took Trump over the winning edge.
Pardo said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin chose Trump, because he felt that this man would be most helpful to Moscow, according to Newsweek magazine. Then, Putin created the Internet Research Agency (IRA) which was a covert internet operation. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed Russia’s president gave it a $25 million plus budget.
The former Mossad chief said:
‘Officials in Moscow looked at the 2016 U.S. presidential race and asked, ‘Which candidate would we like to have sitting in the White House? Who will help us achieve our goals?’ And they chose him. From that moment, they deployed a system (of bots) for the length of the elections, and ran him for president.’
‘What we’ve seen so far with respect to bots and the distortion of information is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the greatest threat of recent years, and it threatens the basic values that we share—democracy and the world order created since World War Two.’
The Senate commissioned two reports to see how badly the Russians had attacked the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Those results came in, and they do not look good.
The first company the Senate commissioned was New Knowledge. The intent was to look into the Russian troll farm named the Internet Research Agency (IRA). A troll is someone who intentionally posts messages online with the intent of starting the most emotional upset and disagreement.
New Knowledge’s report read that IRA had “over a thousand people” in “round-the-clock influence operations:”
‘Run like a sophisticated marketing agency in a centralized office environment, the IRA employed and trained over a thousand people to engage in round-the-clock influence operations, first targeting Ukrainian and Russian citizens, and then, well before the 2016 US election, Americans. The scale of their operation was unprecedented—they reached 126 million people on Facebook, at least 20 million users on Instagram, 1.4 million users on Twitter, and uploaded over 1,000 videos to YouTube.’
The Senate commissioned a second report to check out the Russian influence operation meant to divide this country and promote Donald Trump. Oxford University and a company name Graphica completed this report.
The report detected the very top shared and liked Facebook posts. Then, they added these divisive issues, including “anti-Obama and pro-Trump:”
‘On Facebook, the five most shared and the five most liked posts focused on divisive issues, with pro-gun ownership content, anti-immigration content pitting immigrants against veterans, content decrying police violence against African Americans, and content that was anti-Muslim, anti-refugee, anti-Obama, and pro-Trump.’
How effective the Russians’ attack was from these two reports still remains unclear.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.