fair.png
Tuesday November 29th, 2022 5:14PM

US: Russia spent $300M to covertly influence world politics

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia has covertly spent more than $300 million since 2014 to try to influence politicians and other officials in more than two dozen countries, the State Department alleges in a newly released cable.

The cable released Tuesday cites a new intelligence assessment of Russia's global covert efforts to support policies and parties sympathetic to Moscow. The cable does not name specific Russian targets but says the U.S. is providing classified information to select individual countries.

It's the latest effort by the Biden administration to declassify intelligence about Moscow's military and political aims, dating back to ultimately correct assessments that Russia would launch a new war against Ukraine. Many of President Joe Biden's top national security officials have extensive experience countering Moscow and served in government when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched wide-ranging campaigns to influence the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

A senior administration official declined to say how much money Russia is believed to have spent in Ukraine, where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top deputies have long accused Putin of meddling in domestic politics. The official noted allegations of Russian influence in recent elections in Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro, all Eastern European countries that have faced historical pressure from Moscow.

Unlike declared efforts by foreign governments to lobby for preferred initiatives, Russia's covert influence involved using front organizations to funnel money to preferred causes or politicians, the cable alleges. That includes think tanks in Europe and state-owned enterprises in Central America, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The U.S. has in its history also covertly funded political groups and been responsible for efforts to topple or undermine foreign governments. The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under rules set by the administration, rejected comparisons between Russia's activities and current U.S. financing of media and political initiatives.

Putin was spending huge sums “in an attempt to manipulate democracies from the inside,” the official said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price called Russia's covert funding an “assault on sovereignty.”

“It is an effort to chip away at the ability of people around the world to choose the governments that they see best fit to represent them, to represent their interests, and to represent their values,” he said.

Russia's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The State Department took the unusual step of releasing a diplomatic cable that was sent on Monday to many U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, many of them in Europe, Africa and South Asia, laying out the concerns.

The cable, which was marked “sensitive” and not intended for foreign audiences but was not classified, contained a series of talking points that U.S. diplomats were instructed to raise with their host governments regarding alleged Russian interference. Among steps diplomats were told to recommend include sanctions, travel bans, and exposure of covert financing.

According to the cable, intelligence officials believe Russia planned to transfer “at least hundreds of millions more” dollars in funding to sympathetic parties and officials around the world.

The cable does not say how intelligence officials came up with the total figure of $300 million. It also does not address concerns that Russia or other adversaries may again try to interfere in U.S. politics.

The official briefing reporters noted that Biden had recently extended a national emergency declaration addressing the continued threat of foreign election interference.

“We’re promoting coordination with our democratic peers," the official said. "And we’ll be exchanging lessons learned, all to advance our collective election security, but also our election security here at home.”

Josh Rudolph, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy who researches Russian and Chinese financial influence, compared the White House decision to release its new findings with its declassification of Russian plans and intentions in the Ukraine war.

“That made a lot of sense because it got the Ukrainians ready for their own defense and it helped rally the Europeans to build an international coalition,” Rudolph said. “This can have all of those same benefits but also defang the operation itself. If the target is voters, then what you mainly have to do is reach those voters and let them know what's happening to them.”

___

This version corrects that Albania, Bosnia, and Montenegro were not part of the former Soviet Union.

___

AP Diplomatic Writer Matt Lee contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Markets shudder on dashed inflation hopes; Dow falls 1,250
The stock market fell the most since June 2020 following Wall Street’s humbling realization that inflation is not slowing as much as hoped
5:56PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Ken Starr, whose probe led to Clinton impeachment, dies
Ken Starr, a former federal appellate judge and a prominent attorney whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, died Tuesday at age 76, his family says
5:55PM ( 22 minutes ago )
In Northern Ireland, praise for monarchy vies with disdain
It’s less than ten minutes walk from the Falls Road to the Shankhill Road in Northern Ireland’s capital
5:49PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
West Virginia lawmakers OK abortion ban with few exceptions
West Virginia’s Legislature has passed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions
4:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
Midterm primaries wrap up with fresh test of GOP's future
A staunchly conservative, retired Army general is favored to win New Hampshire’s Republican Senate nomination and face potentially vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan
4:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP's Graham unveils nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks
Upending the midterm elections, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has introduced a nationwide abortion ban
3:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
RI governor faces tough primary in bid for 1st full term
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee is facing a tough challenge from Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea in Tuesday’s Democratic primary
10:14AM ( 8 hours ago )
Trump's PAC faces scrutiny amid intensifying legal probes
Former President Donald Trump is sitting on top of more than $115 million across several political committees
8:08AM ( 10 hours ago )
Democrats try to seize political offensive ahead of midterms
A boisterous mood marked the Democratic National Committee’s recent summer gathering near Washington
12:09AM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Elections
GOP secretary of state hopefuls see corrupt political system
Four Republicans seeking to overhaul how elections are run by becoming their state’s chief election official say they are fighting against a corrupt system
5:54PM ( 3 days ago )
GOP nominee for Kansas governor tries to flip abortion issue
The Republican nominee for Kansas governor is trying to make the Democratic incumbent's support for abortion rights a liability
5:26PM ( 3 days ago )
US, Trump team propose names for arbiter in Mar-a-Lago probe
The Justice Department and Donald Trump’s legal team have proposed candidates to serve as an independent arbiter in the investigation into top-secret information found in an FBI search of the former president’s Florida home
11:53PM ( 3 days ago )
General Election News
Proud Boys Hawaii leader, friend plead guilty in Jan. 6 riot
The founder of the Hawaii Proud Boys chapter and a Texas man who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and posed for a picture in front of a door on which one of them had written “Murder the Media” each pleaded guilty Friday to a felony charge in connection with the riot
5:35PM ( 4 days ago )
Bolsonaro turns Brazil's bicentennial into campaign rally
Brazil’s President Jair bolsonaro has transformed the nation’s bicentennial into a multi-city campaign event, amid concerns from critics he would use his appearances to undermine the upcoming election
12:09AM ( 5 days ago )
Trump-backed Diehl to take on Healey in Mass. governor race
A former state representative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Geoff Diehl, has won the Republican nomination for Massachusetts governor over a businessman, Chris Doughty, who was considered the more moderate candidate in the race
5:28PM ( 6 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Markets shudder on dashed inflation hopes; Dow falls 1,250
The stock market fell the most since June 2020 following Wall Street’s humbling realization that inflation is not slowing as much as hoped
5:56PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Ken Starr, whose probe led to Clinton impeachment, dies
Ken Starr, a former federal appellate judge and a prominent attorney whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, died Tuesday at age 76, his family says
5:55PM ( 22 minutes ago )
In Northern Ireland, praise for monarchy vies with disdain
It’s less than ten minutes walk from the Falls Road to the Shankhill Road in Northern Ireland’s capital
5:49PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Rapper PnB Rock fatally shot in Los Angeles restaurant
Rapper PnB Rock was fatally shot during a robbery at a South Los Angeles restaurant where police believe a social media post may have tipped the assailant to his location
5:19PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Jury gets R. Kelly's child pornography and trial-fixing case
Jurors have begun deliberating in R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago on charges accusing him of making child pornography and rigging his 2008 child porn trial
5:14PM ( 1 hour ago )