A little more than a year ago, I posted and pinned the following predictive tweet: “Get ready. A year from right now we’ll be up to our asses in Russian fake news, malware, hacks, mayhem aimed at the midterms. Pinning this.” Granted, it wasn’t a difficult forecast knowing what we knew at the time. Today, in addition to prior intelligence community assessments indicating that Russia attacked the presidential election with the intention of helping Donald Trump win, the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee has released its own verification of the intelligence community’s conclusions: “The Committee believes the conclusions of the [intelligence community assessment] are sound, and notes that collection and analysis subsequent to the ICA’s publication continue to reinforce its assessments.” The committee will continue its probe from this position. It’s also worth noting that the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said publicly that the committee has “been incredibly enlightened at our ability to rebuild backwards the Steele dossier up to a certain date.” Burr and company reportedly continue to communicate with Christopher Steele’s legal representation to corroborate the remainder of the document.
All told, those of us who are keeping track of the revelations from both Robert Mueller’s office and the Intelligence Committee know what’s what. And that includes Vladimir Putin’s ongoing “active measures” meant to disrupt American democracy.
So far in the 2018 cycle, we haven’t seen any evidence of hacker attacks similar to what transpired in early 2016 and throughout that year, with malicious Russian hackers linked to that nation’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, infiltrating Democratic Party accounts then releasing the stolen emails through WikiLeaks. Anyone who’s spent time in the harrowing weeds of political Twitter recently, however, has surely witnessed the prevalence of trolls and bots swarming popular liberals and “blue checks” while simultaneously spreading propaganda designed to influence the outcome of the election.
One of the present-day agitprop campaigns linked to Putin’s hacker squads is the “WalkAway” hashtag.