After testimony from FBI Director James Comey revealed that his agency is investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the election, despite there being a shred of evidence, reports surfaced that the FBI was also probing “right-wing” news websites that may have unwittingly become pawns of Putin, all in an effort to aid in Trump’s election.
Oddly enough, Direct Comey declined to confirm if the FBI was investigating the illegal leaks of confidential transcripts containing a conversation between General Mike Flynn and the Russian Ambassador, resulting in his eventual resignation, yet Comey had no problem admitting an investigation into any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.
According to a new report, the FBI is examining the possibility that Russia used cyber tools to increase the impact of “partially false” or outright “fictional” pro-Trump stories during the election last year. The end result of these cyber efforts would be to increase the exposure of right-wing articles that portrayed Trump in a positive manner, especially during times when he was under the greatest attacks from the mainstream media.
Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.
Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.
The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.
Investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far-right news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives. Their participation, however, wasn’t necessary for the bots to amplify their news through Twitter and Facebook.
The investigation of the bot-engineered traffic, which appears to be in its early stages, is being driven by the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, whose inquiries rarely result in criminal charges and whose main task has been to reconstruct the nature of the Kremlin’s cyber attack and determine ways to prevent another.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the inquiry into the use of bots.
Note, this story is based largely on “two people familiar with the inquiry”, and in fact there has been no evidence made public that indicates Russia helped promote right-wing websites.
Essentially what the investigation is claiming is that pro-Trump news websites produced stories that were “false” or “partially false” with some fact mixed in, which would influence massive amounts of voters reading news on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Alleged “Russian bots”, programs that automatically submit or upvote links on social media, would artificially inflate the popularity of these links and grant them greater exposure to viewers. The story specifically mentions conservative sites such as Infowars, where host Alex Jones recently did a parody of himself being brainwashed by the Russians to help “bring back American jobs” and “protect the border”, along with other suspiciously devious pro-American goals.
Is it possible, however, that pro-Trump social media users simply enjoyed the stories and promoted them willingly without the need for a foreign nation’s influence?
The theme of many Democrat’s anti-Trump narratives seem to be rooted in their belief that Donald Trump could not have won the election and defeated Hillary Clinton unless some extensive intervention on the part of Russia took place. The Democrats are still in disbelief at their loss since they were so absorbed in their own anti-Trump narrative, which the entire mainstream media happily parroted, that they failed to see that working class voters were abandoning them in droves.
Russia-generated bots are one piece of a cyber puzzle that counterintelligence agents have sought to solve for nearly a year to determine the extent of the Moscow government’s electronic broadside.
“This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” said one former U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Bureau director James Comey confirmed Monday at a House Intelligence Committee hearing what long has been reported: that the FBI is investigating possible links between individuals in the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian campaign to influence the election and whether there was any coordination between the two.
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of multiple congressional panels examining Russia’s intervention, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion.” There also is “direct evidence . . . of deception, and that’s where we begin the investigation,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California.
The Russians didn’t need to aid Trump in order for him to win the election, and the only collusion against Hillary Clinton was on the part of the millions of citizens who voted for Donald Trump. In fact, you need only look at the record amounts of attendees at Trump’s rallies as proof of his popularity, but I suppose they were all Russian actors too.
Trump’s crowd sizes were comparable to what you’d see at a large concert or sporting event, not a political rally, while Hillary Clinton could barely muster hundreds at her gatherings.
The witch-hunt continues, and the real reason the Democrats are targeting right-wing news websites is because they presented an alternative narrative to the liberal media networks who were feverishly promoting Hillary Clinton. Alternative news sources gained enormous traction during the 2016 election, since nowhere else could voters find any opposing viewpoints from outlets such as the CNN or the New York Times.
Ironically, liberal and anti-Trump news networks such as the Washington Post and CNN receive no scrutiny for publishing blatant negative attacks on Trump, many of which are based on “anonymous sources”. It appears the mainstream media is upset that their monopoly on biased reporting is being jeopardized by alternative news sites, which attempt to paint a more fair picture of Donald Trump or conservative policies. In essence, the anti-Trump media outlets are doing the exact thing that they are accusing right-wing websites of, which is spreading a false narrative with the sole purpose of destroying Trump’s image.
Right-wing news websites didn’t need the Russians to promote their stories, as thousands of online Trump supporters happily shared them with their social circles online. The amount of passion behinds Trump’s movement is what drove positive stories about him to spread, which voters used to counter the constant negativity coming out of the mainstream media. This had a far greater impact than “Russian bots” ever could, as it was organic, grassroots and very real.