McMaster Says U.S. Must Reveal 'Insidious' Russian Meddling to Prevent Further Attacks

2018/1/8 21:56:34

"Well, I think Russia’s moved from what you might call plausible deniability to implausible deniability."

-- H.R. McMaster, U.S. national security adviser

From RFE/RL, Jan 03, 2018


WASHINGTON -- Top White House adviser H.R. McMaster says one of the most important tasks in defending U.S. national security is to reveal Russia’s “insidious” interference in elections worldwide to prevent Moscow from meddling again in the democratic process.


“What we have to do is come up with a way to deal with this very sophisticated strategy [of meddling],” McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, told Voice of America (VOA) in an interview conducted at the White House on January 2.


“This new kind of threat that Russia has really perfected...the use of disinformation and propaganda and social-media tools to really polarize societies and pit communities against each other, to weaken their resolve and their commitment,” McMaster said.


U.S. intelligence officials concluded last January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an "influence campaign" targeting the 2016 election, aiming to undermine confidence in U.S. democracy, tarnish the reputation of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and help Republican Donald Trump.


Officials in Europe have also concluded that Russia attempted to meddle in elections there, including in France, Spain, and the Brexit vote in Britain.


McMaster said that “insidious is the right word” to describe Russia’s actions.


“So, one of the most important remedies is to pull the curtain back on it to show this activity, to show what the source of this activity is -- what the purpose of this activity is,” he said.


“And so doing this, you’re going to undercut a lot of their ability to exert that kind of negative influence on our society or others.


“The Russians were very active in the French election recently, in the Spanish referendum in regards to Catalonia [independence]. You see them active in Mexico already. I mean, what they did in Montenegro to try to foment a coup," he said.


"Pulling the curtain back on Russia’s destabilizing behavior, I think, is a very important first step, because once everybody sees what they’re up to, they lose a lot of their power to foment [trouble] and to pit communities against each other.”


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