Some disturbing stories in case you missed them

The American way of life is under threat. Mr. Trump is looking to become the first American dictator and he has made some serious progress towards this goal over the weekend. It seems Russian influence is everywhere. Some disturbing stories in case you missed them

The NRA and Russian Money & Influence

PETER STONE AND GREG GORDON at McClatchy report several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source. The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. It is a crime, potentially punishable with prison time, to donate or use foreign money in U.S. election campaigns. The NRA, Trump’s biggest financial backer, spent more than $30 million to boost his upstart candidacy; that’s more than double what it laid out for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and the NRA money started flowing much earlier in the cycle for Trump. Other influential Russians who met with NRA representatives during the campaign include Dmitry Rogozin, who until last month served as a deputy prime minister overseeing Russia’s defense industry, and Sergei Rudov, head of one of Russia’s largest philanthropies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. The foundation was launched by an ultra-nationalist ally of Russian President Putin. The Russians talked and dined with NRA representatives, mainly in Moscow, as U.S. presidential candidates vied for the White House. Now U.S. investigators want to know if relationships between the Russian leaders and the nation’s largest gun-rights group went beyond vodka toasts and gun factory tours, evolving into another facet of the Kremlin’s broad election-interference operation.

Putin is at it again – hacking US Voter Information

Leslie Salzillo of the Daily Kos reports that during a meeting co-hosted by the Atlantic Council in Normandy, France on June 8, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a warning stating that the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin intends to more aggressively interfere with the upcoming United States midterm elections. Coat’s warning comes within days of Trump’s efforts to get Russia into the G-7, to no avail, while at the same time calling himself Russia’s biggest nightmare. The relationship between Trump, Putin and our national elections are dangerously clear. In a video, Coats states:

“The United States is under attack—under attack by entities using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States.

From U.S. businesses to the federal government, local governments—the United States is threatened by cyber attacks every day. While Russia, China, Iran and North Korea pose the greatest cyber threats, other terrorist organizations, transnational criminal organizations and ever more technically capable groups and individuals use cyber operations to achieve strategic and malign objectives.

Some of these actors, including Russia, are likely to pursue even more aggressive cyber attacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances. Persistent and disruptive cyber operatives will continue against the United States and our European allies—using our elections to undermine democracy and sow discord and division.”

Coats reminded the council that although Putin says he wants a united and prosperous Europe, “invading Ukraine, seizing Crimea, attacking individuals in the U.K. with nerve agents, conducting cyber-attacks against multiple EU countries… do not strike me as unifying actions.”

Director Coats has been issuing similar warnings all year. In this short video from February, he states other tools Putin has and will use. “Putin will resort to more authoritarian tactics to remain in control…We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence and try to build on its own wide range of operations and exacerbate political figures in the United States. There should be no doubt that Russia is perceived as successful, and views the 2018 U.S. Midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

ERIC CHENOWETH at The American Interest writes,
“Despite all the diminishment, denial, and deflection, the evidence is mounting that Russian interference may have tipped the 2016 election.

In mid-February, the news cycle was saturated with coverage of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians, the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), and two front companies. The indictment detailed the IRA’s surreptitious, deceptive, and illegal “interference operations” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Here was a major development in what is called the “Russia-Trump investigation,” one that added to public understanding of what the Russia government did, its intentions, and its possible impact on the election. Molly J. McKew, a specialist in information warfare, wrote in Wired that “it is now undeniable” Russia’s intervention affected the election in favor of Donald J. Trump. A Washington Post editorial stated that Mueller had presented “powerful evidence that Moscow staged an attack on the United States’ democratic political process.”

In another time, one might reasonably expect that a criminal indictment detailing a hostile foreign power’s conspiratorial attack on U.S. democracy that affected a presidential election might lead to bipartisan pronouncements to defend the homeland, the appointment of a joint Congressional or independent commission to help craft a national response, and joint legislative and executive branch action to deter such intervention in the future.

Is Arizona’s voter information safe?

Carlos Herrera KGUN 9 writes,
TUCSON, Ariz. In Arizona, officials say hackers try to get into the computer system at the Arizona Secretary of State’s office thousands of times each day, more than 50,000 times a month. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said hackers target the online voter registration system because it holds so much personal information about Arizona voters. If hackers get into the system, they can steal identities or change voter information.

Really – 50,000 attempts were made in one month to hack voter registration and they did not get in? – This is difficult to believe. It is worth checking your data in the system several times between now and the election.

 

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