The FBI is investigating whether far-right news websites contributed to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new report.
The probe is focused on discovering whether Russian operatives used conservative outlets to help spread stories favoring now-President Trump, McClatchy said Monday.
McClatchy confirmed with two people familiar with the inquiry that the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division is driving the investigation.
The sources said Russian operatives seemingly strategically timed computer commands called “bots” to blitz social media with pro-Trump stories.
The bots were used at times when Trump appeared struggling with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, they continued.
McClatchy’s sources said the bots mainly created millions of Facebook and Twitter posts linking to articles on far-right websites including Breitbart News, InfoWars and the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News.
The sources added that some of the stories were false or contained a mixture of fact and fiction.
Federal investigators are now examining whether the far-right news organizations took any actions aiding Russian operatives, they said.
The bots could have amplified pro-Trump news on Facebook and Twitter, regardless of the outlets’ knowledge or involvement, the pair of sources noted.
“This may be one of the most impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” one former U.S. intelligence official told McClatchy, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the matter’s sensitivity.
Sure my grandfather guarded captured Russian soldiers in WWII. But my parents learned about how evil the Soviets were mainly from the CIA news man on TV. Me? It took me until my 30s to know what a "cyka blyat" was.
But the children of today already know because they play video games on the internet. That's going to turn the entire system on its head.
It's true you know. It's like Trump doing rallies and tweets all the time. It cuts the (((middle man))) out.
(((They))) still can't figure out how to stay in control of the information arbitrage, and all while they're losing profitability.