The Science of Making Americans Harm Their Country-sanewnetworks
The National Intelligence Council has released an unclassified report that retrospectively assesses external threats to the 2020 elections. This has several twists and turns: the Iranian government tried to conduct some kind of online influence campaign; The Chinese government considered doing the same, but then abandoned the idea. But most of the report is devoted to Russia. Unlike in 2016, this time the Russian special services did not deal with hacks and leaks. Instead, they focused on creating what they would call compromising evidence. NIC focuses on the activities of Andriy Derkach, a Russian agent and citizen of Ukraine, who used former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to spread misinformation about Joe Biden and his family. The post also mentions Konstantin Kilimnik, another Russian agent who played the same game.
When I read the report, my instinctive reaction was that I already knew all this. Unsurprisingly, this story is familiar, most of it has appeared in newspapers as it evolved. Giuliani’s contacts with Derkach cannot be called Openel’s secret, because they were not at all a secret. In 2019, the two men appeared together on One American News Network, a far-right channel that breathlessly described Derkach as part of a group of de facto whistleblowers, spoke about an impeachment joke, and mentioned the FBI’s personal hatred of Donald Trump. Giuliani and Derkach provided the channel with forged recordings and other materials designed to create the impression that Biden was somehow involved in corruption in Ukraine.
Kilimnik, too, has become an old and familiar face in American politics, appearing in election after election. During the 2016 campaign, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, passed on poll data to him. While this fact came to light in an investigation into the 2016 elections by former Special Adviser Robert Mueller, no one explained why Kilimnik needed this information for the interview, or what he could do with it. Now he is back in the spotlight in 2020. The new report says that in addition to providing compromising evidence to OANN, Kilimnik, Derkach and others met and provided materials to the Trump administration, linked the American people to a call for official investigations; hired a US firm to petition US officials; and tried to establish contact with several senior US officials.
The Science of Making Americans Harm Their Country–sanewnetworks