Source: Associated Press
Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort reaching American and Western audiences, U.S. government officials said.
The disclosure comes as the spread of disinformation, including by Russia, is an urgent concern heading into November’s presidential election as U.S. officials look to avoid a repeat of the 2016 contest, when Russia launched a covert social media campaign to divide American public opinion and to favor then-candidate Donald Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Officials described the Russian disinformation as part of an ongoing and persistent effort to advance false narratives and cause confusion.
Though U.S. officials have warned before about the spread of disinformation tied to the pandemic, they went further on Tuesday by singling out a particular information agency that is registered in Russia, InfoRos and that operates a series of websites – InfoRos.
Two individuals who have also held leadership roles at InfoRos, identified Tuesday as Denis Valeryevich Tyurin and Aleksandr Gennadyevich Starunskiy, have previously served in a GRU unit specializing in military psychological intelligence and maintain deep contacts there, the officials said.
In 2019, a European Union task force that studies disinformation campaigns identified One World as “a new addition to the pantheon of Moscow-based disinformation outlets.” The task force noted that One World’s content often parrots the Russian state agenda on issues including the war in Syria.
Full Story @ Associated Press