No one cares about Russia in the world Breitbart made

Joshua Green writes: The revelation that Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton was a true bombshell in an era when we have become almost inured to them. Here was proof that members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign had, at the very least, been eager to collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

No one could gainsay the facts: Mr. Trump’s own son published them on Twitter.

As recently as five or 10 years ago, every major news outlet would have treated this set of facts as front-page news and a dire threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The conservative press and Republican voters might disagree on certain particulars or points of emphasis. But their view of reality — of what happened and its significance — would have largely comported with that of the mainstream. You’d have had to travel to the political fringe of right-wing talk radio, the Drudge Report and dissident publications like Breitbart News to find an alternative viewpoint that rejected this basic story line.

Not anymore. Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative. On Fox News, host Lou Dobbs offered a representative example on Thursday night, when he described the Donald Trump Jr. email story, with wild-eyed fervor, like this: “This is about a full-on assault by the left, the Democratic Party, to absolutely carry out a coup d’état against President Trump aided by the left-wing media.”

Mr. Dobbs isn’t some wacky outlier, but rather an example of how over the last several years the conservative underworld has swallowed up and subsumed more established right-leaning outlets such as Fox News. The Breitbart mind-set — pugnacious, besieged, paranoid and determined to impose its own framework on current events regardless of facts — has moved from the right-wing fringe to the center of Republican politics. [Continue reading…]

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Trump is ushering in a dark new conservatism

Timothy Snyder writes: In his committed mendacity, his nostalgia for the 1930s, and his acceptance of support from a foreign enemy of the United States, a Republican president has closed the door on conservatism and opened the way to a darker form of politics: a new right to replace an old one.

Conservatives were skeptical guardians of truth. The conservatism of the 18th century was a thoughtful response to revolutionaries who believed that human nature was a scientific problem. Edmund Burke answered that life is not only a matter of adaptations to the environment, but also of the knowledge we inherit from culture. Politics must respect what was and is as well as what might be.

The conservative idea of truth was a rich one.

Conservatives did not usually deny the world of science, but doubted that its findings exhausted all that could be known about humanity. During the terrible ideological battles of the 20th century, American conservatives urged common sense upon liberals and socialists tempted by revolution.

The contest between conservatives and the radical right has a history that is worth remembering. Conservatives qualified the Enlightenment of the 18th century by characterizing traditions as the deepest kind of fact. Fascists, by contrast, renounced the Enlightenment and offered willful fictions as the basis for a new form of politics. The mendacity-industrial complex of the Trump administration makes conservatism impossible, and opens the floodgates to the sort of drastic change that conservatives opposed. [Continue reading…]

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How a false conspiracy theory about the Russian lawyer who met with Don Jr. spread to Trump

BuzzFeed reports: Right-wing outlets, pro-Trump media personalities, and conspiracy theorists are falsely claiming that the attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 campaign was a left-wing operative trying to torpedo a future Trump administration.

The claim, which was first published Tuesday evening on a website that often circulates inaccurate information, gained significant traction and pickup the following day from more mainstream right-wing outlets. By Thursday, President Trump himself had parroted parts of the conspiracy theory at a news conference in Paris.

The conspiracy theory is an apparent attempt to upend the latest political firestorm facing the Trump administration — a frequent tactic used by the pro-Trump media to try to discredit reporting from credible news outlets that is critical of the president and push the claim that the media is suppressing the real story. [Continue reading…]

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Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during U.S. election

The Guardian reports: The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or paedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook.

The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.

Warner said there was evidence that this campaign appeared to be focused on key voters in swing states, raising the question over whether there was coordination with US political operatives in directing the flow of bogus stories. [Continue reading…]

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Will get fooled again – Seymour Hersh, Welt, and the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack

Eliot Higgins writes: On June 25th 2017 the German newspaper, Welt, published the latest piece by Seymour Hersh, countering the “mainstream” narrative around the April 4th 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack in Syria. The attack, where Sarin was allegedly used against the local population, dropped in a bomb by the Syrian Air Force, resulted in President Trump taking the decision to launch cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

As with his other recent articles, Hersh presented another version of events, claiming the established narrative was wrong. And, as with those other recent articles, Hersh based his case on a tiny number of anonymous sources, presented no other evidence to support his case, and ignored or dismissed evidence that countered the alternative narrative he was trying to build.

This isn’t the first chemical attack in Syria which Hersh has presented a counter-narrative for, based on a handful of anonymous sources. In his lengthy articles for the London Review of Books, “Whose sarin?” and “The Red Line and the Rat Line”, Hersh made the case that the August 21st 2013 Sarin attack in Damascus was in fact a false flag attack intended to draw the US into the conflict with Syria. This claim fell apart under real scrutiny, and relied heavily on ignoring much of the evidence around the attacks, an ignorance of the complexities of producing and transporting Sarin, and a lack of understanding about facts firmly established about the attacks. [Continue reading…]

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Europe has been working to expose Russian meddling for years

The Washington Post reports: As the United States grapples with the implications of Kremlin interference in American politics, European countries are deploying a variety of bold tactics and tools to expose Russian attempts to sway voters and weaken European unity.

Across the continent, counterintelligence officials, legislators, researchers and journalists have devoted years — in some cases, decades — to the development of ways to counter Russian disinformation, hacking and trolling. And they are putting them to use as never before.

Four dozen officials and researchers interviewed recently sounded uniformly more confident about the results of their efforts to counter Russian influence than officials grappling with it in the United States, which one European cyber-official described as “like watching ‘House of Cards.’ ”

“The response here has been very practical,” observed a senior U.S. intelligence official stationed in Europe. “Everybody’s looking at it.”

In the recent French elections, the Kremlin-friendly presidential candidate lost to newcomer Emmanuel Macron, who was subjected to Russian hacking and false allegations in Russian-sponsored news outlets during the campaign. In Germany, all political parties have agreed not to employ automated bots in their social media campaigns because such hard-to-detect cybertools are frequently used by Russia to circulate bogus news accounts. [Continue reading…]

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How Putin seduced Oliver Stone — and Trump

Masha Gessen writes: Watching four hours of Oliver Stone interviewing President Vladimir Putin of Russia is not a lesson in journalism. Mr. Stone is an inept interviewer, and he does not get Mr. Putin to say anything the world hasn’t heard from him before. Watching the interviews for entertainment is a questionable proposition, too: The four-part series contains many dull exchanges and even more filler, like footage of the two men watching “Dr. Strangelove” together.

Still, “The Putin Interviews,” which were released this month by Showtime, may be worth watching for the view they provide of a particular kind of relationship.

Many Americans have been looking for an explanation for Mr. Trump’s apparent adoration of Mr. Putin. How can a powerful, wealthy American man hold affection for the tyrannical, corrupt leader of a hostile power?

Oddly, “The Putin Interviews” provide psychological and intellectual answers to that question. For Mr. Stone appears to have the same sort of breathless admiration for Mr. Putin as Mr. Trump does. In filming their interaction, he has broadcast the conditions on which this kind of admiration rests. Should you ever wish to experience affection for a dictator, you too should make sure that these conditions are in place. [Continue reading…]

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Russian hackers are using ‘tainted’ leaks to sow disinformation

Andy Greenberg writes: Over the past year, the Kremlin’s strategy of weaponizing leaks to meddle with democracies around the world has become increasingly clear, first in the US and more recently in France. But a new report by a group of security researchers digs into another layer of those so-called influence operations: how Russian hackers alter documents within those releases of hacked material, planting disinformation alongside legitimate leaks.

A new report from researchers at the Citizen Lab group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Public Affairs documents a wide-ranging hacking campaign, with ties to known Russian hacker groups. The effort targeted more than 200 individuals, ranging from Russian media to a former Russian prime minister to Russian opposition groups, and assorted government and military personnel from Ukraine to Vietnam. Noteworthy among the leaks: A Russia-focused journalist and author whose emails were not only stolen but altered before their release. Once they appeared on a Russian hactivist site, Russian state media used the disinformation to concoct a CIA conspiracy.

The case could provide the clearest evidence yet that Russian hackers have evolved their tactics from merely releasing embarrassing true information to planting false leaks among those facts. “Russia has a long history of experience with disinformation,” says Ron Deibert, the political science professor who led Citizen Lab’s research into the newly uncovered hacking spree. “This is the first case of which I am aware that compares tainted documents to originals associated with a cyber espionage campaign.” [Continue reading…]

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How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe

The Washington Post reports: A secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake, according to people familiar with its contents.

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received what was described as a Russian intelligence document claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

The Russian document cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter. If true, the revelation of such an understanding would have undermined the integrity of the FBI’s investigation.

Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable. [Continue reading…]

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‘The internet is broken,’ says pioneer of social media, Evan Williams

The New York Times reports: Evan Williams is the guy who opened up Pandora’s box. Until he came along, people had few places to go with their overflowing emotions and wild opinions, other than writing a letter to the newspaper or haranguing the neighbors.

Mr. Williams — a Twitter founder, a co-creator of Blogger — set everyone free, providing tools to address the world. In the history of communications technology, it was a development with echoes of Gutenberg.

And so here we are in 2017. How’s it going, Mr. Williams?

“I think the internet is broken,” he says. He has believed this for a few years, actually. But things are getting worse. “And it’s a lot more obvious to a lot of people that it’s broken.”

People are using Facebook to showcase suicides, beatings and murder, in real time. Twitter is a hive of trolling and abuse that it seems unable to stop. Fake news, whether created for ideology or profit, runs rampant. Four out of 10 adult internet users said in a Pew survey that they had been harassed online. And that was before the presidential campaign heated up last year.

“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Mr. Williams says. “I was wrong about that.” [Continue reading…]

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4 things Western democracies need to understand to stop hostile Kremlin meddling

Jakub Janda writes: In 2015, I started the Kremlin Watch Program at a think-tank in Prague. My team analyzes Russian influence and disinformation operations, and we have helped the Czech government tailor a national strategy. We publish papers, propose strategies, and have been invited to consult in 16 countries—mostly European—so far. These are four lessons I have learned from my experience.

#1. Putin’s regime wants to call itself a superpower and to be respected as such. Apart from having nuclear weapons and large territory, Russia has nothing that makes it anything more than a regional dictatorship with living standards of a developing country. Freedom of speech in Russia is worse than in Zimbabwe, political opponents are shot or poisoned, journalists are assassinated, history is systematically falsified, and most major media outlets are controlled by the regime. Putin suppresses domestic opposition—from both political groups and independent media—because he has failed to deliver solid living standards for ordinary Russians over the course of the 17 years he has ruled. Russia has a lower GDP than Italy, and its average wages are lower than Romania’s.

On the international stage, there isn’t much to respect Russia for—apart from its status of a doping superpower; its occupation of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova; and its covering up for bloody dictators like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Western leftists need to wake up from their naïve dream of Russia being a champion of socialist ideals, and Western rightists should recognize that Russia is not a champion of conservative values; it suppresses individual freedoms and has the highest abortion rate in the world. Putin’s regime kills and bullies to get respected. Democracies need to denounce this paradigm. It worked at the end of 1980s, and it will work again if we stop buying into the Soviet dictatorship’s fear game. [Continue reading…]

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Trump official: We ‘let the biggest perpetrator of fake news into the Oval Office’ (apart from Trump himself)

The Daily Beast reports: Senior members of the Trump administration are livid that the White House allowed the Russian government to steer the narrative of the president’s Wednesday meeting with top Russian diplomats by giving Kremlin-backed media exclusive access to the event.

The White House did not allow American press into the meeting between President Donald Trump, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak. But it did admit a photographer from TASS, a state-owned Russian news service. Its photos were subsequently posted on TASS’s website, giving that outlet a monopoly on publishable visuals of the meeting.

Russian government Twitter accounts shared photos of the event shortly after its conclusion. They revealed Kislyak’s presence—a fact that was not even mentioned in the official White House readout of the meeting. Some U.S. officials suspect Kislyak, whose conversations with Trump’s former National Security Adviser have fed an FBI investigation of his campaign, is a Kremlin spy—or at least spy-adjacent.

Two senior administration officials, one an Obama holdover and the other a Trump appointee, told The Daily Beast that the resulting reliance of U.S. media on a propaganda arm of a foreign government let Russia set the public tone of the meeting and embarrassed the administration amid already contentious discussions with Russian diplomats.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to candidly express their views. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This isn’t an ‘America First’ policy,” one of the officials fumed of the White House’s decision “to let the biggest perpetrator of fake news into the Oval Office.” Trump, the official added, is “either in bed with the Russians or too stupid to understand the severity of this mistake. Either way, the implications are truly terrifying.” [Continue reading…]

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Europeans are less likely to share fake news. Here’s why

PRI reports: If you picked up a newspaper in the UK on Monday, you might have encountered an unusual advertisement offering tips on how to spot “false news.”

Facebook published the full-page ads in major newspapers — including the Guardian and the Times of Londn — ahead of the country’s general elections next month. Last month, it published the same ads in Germany and France, ahead of elections in those countries.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news,” Simon Milner, Facebook’s Director of Policy for the UK, wrote in a statement.

Research indicates that Internet users in some European countries are less likely than Americans to share fake news online. Still, Facebook and other social media companies have been facing mounting pressure from European leaders to address fake news, as well as other hateful, racist and violent posts.

“I think Europe has within living memory much more understanding of the consequences of letting hateful propaganda spread,” said Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the effect of technology on politics and society. “They lived through World War I and World War II, and they have a deeper visceral reaction to the consequences of letting hate speech, incitement to violence, misinformation, propaganda — the whole range of things that we see online today — going unchecked.” [Continue reading…]

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The clever timing of the Macron data dump

An election whose outcome is widely perceived as a foregone conclusion, is an election sure to be met with widespread voter apathy. Combine that with the fact that many French voters have almost equal distaste for both candidates in Sunday’s election and the assumption that its outcome is certain becomes much more questionable.

Wikileaks/Julian Assange, posturing as an impartial observer, was quick to promote the #MacronLeaks hashtag and to focus on the timing of the “leak.”


The Wikileaks/Russian narrative is clear: don’t be misled by reports that reveal Russian involvement in this “massive leak.” It’s timing makes it clear that this is the handiwork of naive hackers who “don’t get timing.”

A stronger argument can be made, however, that the timing of this data dump, far from being curious or naive, was strategically chosen to be of maximum effect and that its intended effect, more than anything else, was to taint the election outcome. This has less to do with determining who becomes France’s next president than it has with poisoning the democratic process.

Think about it: A leak worthy of that label is by its nature revelatory. It brings to light information that was up until that moment, guarded in secrecy. That secrecy had been maintained purposefully to prevent the damaging effects of revelation.

The Macron data dump, however, was identified by its size rather than its content. The shorter the interval between its release and election day, the less time there would be to highlight its vacuity.

Moreover, in terms of political effect, the act and event of digital leaking has in this cynical era generally taken on more significance as a form of political theater than as an instrument of truth telling.

The leak makes the target look vulnerable and poorly equipped to handle the levers of state in a age that requires data security.

The hacker, like the terrorist, “wins” for no other reason than the fact that he couldn’t be stopped.

The cleverness of timing this attack on the French election minutes before political campaigning was legally required to end, was that #MacronLeaks would then be able to play out most freely in social media while France’s mainstream media would remain largely silent.

The overarching strategy here is one we’ve seen before: it’s about fabricating something out of nothing in order to foment and sustain a visceral mistrust that is immune to reason.

This hacking will have worked, like many before and many more to come, not because it raised awareness but because it can serve as an instrument for steering popular sentiment.

This is hacking as a form of advertising and thus its purpose is less to change the way people think than the way they feel.

In order to achieve its maximum effect, as Dominic Cummings, who ran Britain’s Vote Leave campaign, has noted, the crucial element in advertising is timing:

One of the few reliable things we know about advertising amid the all-pervasive charlatanry is that, unsurprisingly, adverts are more effective the closer to the decision moment they hit the brain.

In France, as has happened elsewhere, the war against democracy will continue to progress with or without spectacular victories, as citizens lose faith and lose interest in actively sustaining freedoms they have long taken for granted. #MacronLeaks advances that process.

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How Soviet dissidents ended 70 years of fake news

Gal Beckerman writes: In the summer of 1990, at a fulcrum moment when his country was tipping from reform to dissolution, Mikhail S. Gorbachev spoke to Time magazine and declared, “I detest lies.” It was a revolutionary statement only because it came from the mouth of a Soviet leader.

On the surface, he was simply embracing his own policy of glasnost, the new openness introduced alongside perestroika, the restructuring of the Soviet Union’s command economy that was meant to rescue the country from geopolitical free-fall. Mr. Gorbachev was wagering that truthful and unfettered expression — a press able to criticize and investigate, history books without redacted names, and honest, accountable government — just might save the creaking edifice of Communist rule.

For the Soviet leader, glasnost was “a blowtorch that could strip the layers of old and peeling paint from Soviet society,” wrote the Baltimore Sun’s Moscow correspondent (and now Times reporter) Scott Shane in “Dismantling Utopia: How Information Ended the Soviet Union.” “But the Communist system proved dry tinder.”

We in the West have always praised Mr. Gorbachev for his courage in taking this gamble — even though he lost an empire in the process — but he did it under pressure. The idea that a better relationship with facts might be liberating for a corrupt and ailing Soviet Union was not new. Mr. Gorbachev was echoing and appropriating the arguments of a dissident movement that, for decades, had made an insistence on truth its essential form of resistance.

If the Soviet Union was the 20th century’s greatest example of a regime that used propaganda and information to control and contain its citizens — 70 years of fake news! — the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution is an important moment to appreciate how it also produced a powerful countercurrent in the civil society undergrounds of Moscow and Leningrad. [Continue reading…]

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Louise Mensch on Mike Flynn’s treason tour: Russian propaganda coordinated with Trump

There is still considerable wariness around Louise Mensch because of her persona and her politics, but even so, considerable evidence that she has earned the trust of sources inside the intelligence community. In February, The Guardian reported:

The full facts about the connections between the Trump camp and the Kremlin are not yet known. Trump now has authority over all the intelligence agencies that were investigating the Russian connection. Investigations have been officially launched in the Senate, but there too, Republicans are in command, and only a handful of senators seem ready to break party ranks to inquire further.

However, it seems increasingly clear that Mensch landed an extraordinary scoop [that a FISA court in Washington had granted a warrant to allow the FBI to conduct surveillance of “US persons” in an investigation of possible contacts between Russian banks and the Trump organisation] that had eluded the best investigative journalists in the US. Her explanation is that her vocal advocacy on behalf of UK and US intelligence agencies since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance led her sources to trust her.

“They gave me one of the most closely guarded secrets in intelligence,” she said in a telephone interview. “People are speculating why someone trusted me with that. Nobody met me in a darkened alley in a fedora, but they saw me as someone who has political experience and is their friend. I am a pro-national security partisan. I don’t have divided loyalties.”

Mensch said she gained her reputation among intelligence professionals on both sides of the Atlantic as a result of her furious criticism of the Guardian’s handling of the NSA files leaked by Snowden when he walked out of his NSA job in Hawaii and fled to Hong Kong.

Mensch now writes: Sources linked to the intelligence community say that General Mike Flynn’s trips to Cambridge and across Europe will form a key part of Donald Trump’s impeachment and the prosecutions of dozens of his associates.

According to several sources within the intelligence community, Michael Flynn was co-ordinating, with and for Russian agents, the drafting of messages that Vladimir Putin was using to attack democracy in not only the United States, but across Europe. Furthermore, Flynn was doing this with the full knowledge of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump himself.

This news directly relates to the data laundering performed by the Alfa Bank server on behalf of Donald Trump and Russia, where, as I reported, the Trump campaign colluded with the hacking of both the DNC and state voter databases.

The Alfa Bank server ‘washed’ that data together to tell Trump where to target it, sources say. But the messages and content with which targets were served was co-ordinated with Russia by General Flynn.

Furthermore, Flynn took the same hacking tools and artificial intelligence coded in Russia and helped far-right and Nazi parties across Europe use it in their own nations. Intelligence sources assert that multiple NATO partners have evidence of this and that it has been provided to the FBI.

If ‘data laundering’ is the first part of the Trump Russia incontrovertible evidence, ‘propaganda targeting’ is the second part. Flynn attacked not only the United States but all her Western allies on Russia’s behalf, with the full knowledge and connivance of Donald Trump.

Both halves of the social media impeachment will, sources assert, be key to Director Comey’s overall case. This is the ‘incontrovertible evidence’ to which Sir Richard Dearlove and others have referred. [Continue reading…]

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Estonia: The little spycatcher who could

Michael Weiss writes: Estonia regained its independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and had no time at all to reconstitute its security services from scratch; it took a calculated gamble that grandfathering in many old hands from the ancien régime, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, wouldn’t result in Swiss cheesing its service with loyalists to the former occupying superpower.

One such transitional figure, a former KGB colonel named Herman Simm, who reinvented himself as a champion of Estonian self-determination, worked his way up to the head of security at the Estonian Defense Ministry. In 2004, when the country joined NATO, Simm established the National Security Authority, a department in the Defense Ministry which gave him access to whatever classified intelligence was shared among the then 26 allied countries. Two years later, Simm was awarded two medals: one from Estonia’s president for “service to the Estonian nation,” and the other from his Russian handler announcing Simm’s promotion to the rank of major-general in the SVR, the branch of Moscow’s own reconstituted KGB in charge of foreign intelligence.

Simm had been a spy who fed reams of sensitive NATO secrets back to Moscow Center. Funnily enough, the one secret that he kept being asked to uncover was the one he was unable to because it didn’t exist: NATO’s invasion plan for Russia.

He was finally arrested in 2008, a year after Russian cyber hackers shut down Estonia’s e-government and digital banking sector for the better part of 24 hours in retaliation for the relocation of a Red Army World War II monument, which precipitated drunken riots in central Tallinn.

NATO subsequently named Simm the “most damaging” foreign operative in Alliance history. It was a grave national embarrassment for a new member-state that had sought membership to protect itself from exactly this type of Kremlin subversion and interference but which had hitherto spent the bulk of the ’90s and early aughts trying to root out the seemingly more urgent threats of gangsterism and organized crime—much of that also emanating from its eastern neighbor. [Continue reading…]

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