Senate Probe Focuses on Alleged Russian Hacking

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On the House side, Democrats are calling for Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to recuse himself from the committee's probe because of doubts that he would not be impartial in the investigation.

The hearing focused on tactics Moscow is thought to employ in spreading disinformation to influence the opinions of Americans and US policy.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the GOP's 2016 presidential contenders, revealed today that twice his former campaign aides had been targeted by Russian hackers - with one instance happening just yesterday.

And he says the Russians continue to interfere in US politics, specifically targeting House Speaker Paul Ryan of late.

If it seems like your family members living in key swing states were more swept up in anti-Hillary Clinton fake news than others during the 2016 election, Russian trolls may have been involved. He accused Russian Federation of blatant attempts to also impact elections in Germany and France. "Only knew the nature of it and that he was going to brief others", Ryan said.

"Most of this influence came online", and "without setting foot" in the U.S., Watts said.

An American senator has alleged that Russian Federation attempted to undermine the 2016 United States presidential election with a propaganda campaign "on steroids". He also said Kremlin operatives hacked into American institutions to steal and weaponize information.

He also said he is ready to meet with US President Donald Trump at an upcoming Arctic summit.

"Senator Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts", said Clint Watts, a cyber and homeland security expert at George Washington University. Targeting is "solely based on what they want to achieve in their own landscape", Watts said.

In the committee's opening remarks, Ranking Democrat Mark Warner said "Russia sought to hijack our democratic process" by employing a disinformation campaign on social media, which he described as "Russian propaganda on steroids".

"He actually repeats propaganda put out by RT or Russian sources and vice versa, they parrot him".

Mark Warner said. "The Russians employed thousands of paid Internet trolls and "botnets" to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume".

"I'm a little bit lost as to what our interests are or how they're coalescing", Watts said. "[If] President Trump for example wins and turns against, they will turn against President Trump as well". Germany has said its parliament has been hacked. Those included ways to bypass what's called two-factor authentication - when users have to enter a separate code, generated by their cell phone, in addition to their passwords to access their account.

Thursday's proceedings began with a morning hearing titled: "Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns".

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., raised concerns that the committee's investigation is not focused enough on following the money, which includes looking at the president's finances and that of his business partners. Watts suggested that the committee also "follow the dead bodies".

  • Larry Hoffman