In op-ed, former intel experts say Russia never stopped cyberattacks on U.S.

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Former CIA Director Michael Morell and former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, say that Russia has continued its cyberattacks against the United States. Morell and Rogers, who both serve on the advisory council for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, say that the U.S. has failed to stop Russia from using social media to “disseminate propaganda designed to weaken our nation. 

“There is a perception among the media and general public that Russia ended its social-media operations following last year’s election and that we need worry only about future elections. But that perception is wrong. Russia’s information operations in the United States continued after the election and they continue to this day,” they write in a Tuesday op-ed for The Washington Post.

The two write that the issue should be of concern for everyone — Republicans and Democrats alike. 

“Foreign governments, overtly or covertly, should not be allowed to play with our democracy.”

They write that the Russian government is still deploying effective tactics that target specific parties and politicians, much as they did by manipulating social media in the build up to the 2016 election. 

According to Rogers and Morell, Russian-influenced Twitter accounts were leading participants in November’s #BoycottKuerig movement on social media. The boycott began to protest the coffee-maker company pulling its adds for Sean Hannity’s Fox News show

“This was a Russian attack on a U.S. company and on our economy,” Morell and Rogers say. 

More recently, Morell and Rogers say that in a single week in December alone, Kremlin-linked social media accounts attempted to discredit the FBI over an agent’s anti-Trump text messages, to attack ABC News for its erroneous reporting on Mr. Trump, and to warn about violence by immigrants after the acquittal of a undocumented man who was accused of murdering Kate Steinle in San Francisco.

Morell and Rogers warn that Russia’s use of social media as a “political weapon” will keep moving forward, with more countries expected to follow suit, unless the U.S. intervenes.

“The sanctions that the Obama administration and Congress put in place in the aftermath of the 2016 election are steps in the right direction, but they were not significant enough to check Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Morell and Rogers suggest.

They add, “True deterrence requires policies that prevent adversaries from achieving their objectives while imposing significant costs on their regimes. So far, we have done neither.”

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