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Thread: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

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    Lightbulb Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

    Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

    June 14, 2017

    Over the last nine months, headlines have reverberated with questions regarding the Russian role in “hacking” the American electoral process. On January 5, 2017, James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “The Russians have a long history of interfering in elections. Theirs and other peoples…This goes back to the 60s, from the heyday of the Cold War.” He went on to call Russian interference in the 2016 election “unprecedented.” In some respects — the scale and impact of the accusations — they are. In other ways, however, they are a throwback to an 80-year-old saga.

    The role of Russia’s intelligence services in the 2016 election represents the revival of Soviet efforts that predate even the Cold War. “Fake news” and financial assistance to opposition candidates, two measures that define Russian influence operations targeting the West, both date to the Stalinist period and the rise of the Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus. In the 1930s, when these methods were first unleashed, the United States had almost no counterintelligence capabilities. Until the early Cold War, the Soviets proved reasonably adept at influencing American politics towards Russia and acquiring information. Only with the expansion of the FBI and the reorganization of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) did Soviet efforts at directly influencing American elections dwindle.

    The Kremlin’s Man in Congress

    Ironically, the House Un-American Activities Committee was built upon foundations laid by someone associated with Soviet intelligence. Among those on the payroll of Soviet intelligence (then called the NKVD or the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in the late 1930s was Rep. Samuel Dickstein, a Democrat from New York City. He first came to Moscow’s attention when he assisted Soviet “illegals” — secret agents without an official Soviet cover identity — in obtaining false passports and visas in 1937. But he soon offered a juicier lure to his Soviet contacts: As founder of the McCormack-Dickstein Committee (formerly called the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities), the congressman was actively involved in domestic intelligence operations. In particular, he offered to relay information on anti-Soviet activities within the United States by Russian émigrés. His platform for this would be the newly formed body, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, based on the McCormack-Dickstein Committee. Dickstein aimed to get a seat on it, and steer it away from the investigation of communists and towards fascists and anti-Bolsheviks. His NKVD handler Peter Gutzeit, under cover as a diplomat at the Soviet consulate in New York, wrote back eagerly to Moscow. Through Dickstein, Gutzeit said, they could gain information on “not only Russian monarchists, Nazis, Ukrainian nationalists, and Japanese operatives, but also, supporters of Leon Trotsky.” By 1938, Soviet operatives were passing Dickstein $1,250 a month, and planned to “throw him a round sum for the reelection campaign.”

    Having a congressman on payroll was a remarkable achievement. But Gutzeit had even bigger plans. Dickstein’s codename — “Crook” — indicated exactly what Soviet operatives thought of him. Beyond Dickstein, Gutzeit saw many other sympathetic political figures in the United States, particularly among New Deal Democrats. The Soviet spook believed the NKVD should consider “helping during elections with money” to carefully vetted candidates for Congress. This would allow Soviet intelligence to “create a group of our people in the legislative bodies, define their political positions, and insert [them] there to actively influence events.” The reaction in Moscow to Gutzeit’s request was positive. In fact, they suggested that he add the purchase of a newspaper to his list of targets. Such a publication could be used to influence events in favor of preferred candidates and also provide a critical window on American domestic politics.

    For the time being, the prohibitive costs — estimated at between half a million and a million dollars a year — kept the plan on the drawing board. But Dickstein delivered several pro-Soviet speeches in Congress, including a number of attacks on the House Committee on Un-American Activities for its investigations into known communists in government positions.

    However, Dickstein’s connections to the NKVD would soon dry up. Stalin’s Great Purges were in full gear and Dickstein’s main handlers would be recalled in turn to the Soviet Union and shot. By February 1940, the NKVD had largely given up on Dickstein, who demanded larger and larger sums for his work and provided little in the way of concrete documentation to the NKVD.

    The Soviet Union and the Fake News Business

    The program to purchase a newspaper would go ahead, though not led by Gutzeit, who had been shot during the purges. In important respects, it was this process that marked the birth of “fake news” — false information purveyed as fact to impact political outcomes — as a favorite NKVD (and later KGB) tactic. The Soviet state already had an experienced cadre of “fake news” journalists from their own internal efforts to conceal the horrors of the 1930s within the Soviet Union: a famine that killed more than six million people, declining standards of living, and the Great Terror of 1936 to 1937.

    Using journalists to muddy the waters or purvey misleading information would remain a favorite Soviet ploy throughout the Cold War. A Voice of America reporter would note in 1985 that Soviet intelligence “are well aware of the seminal role of the American media….they have exploited their accessibility to the hilt.” Intelligence agents, often in cover roles with Soviet publications, “would approach foreign correspondent, saying ‘I am a Soviet journalist and no one will believe me if I write this story. But if you write it, it will be believed.’” This tactic was first deployed to great effect during the 1930s, through sympathetic left-progressive publications.

    Back in the 1930s, the NKVD had a number of “fake news” successes to cheer. The first was the fulfillment of Gutzeit’s plan: the NKVD financed communist agent William Dodd (son of the former U.S. ambassador to Germany), to purchase the Blue Ridge Herald. They also successfully recruited Michael Straight, son of the founder and editor-in-chief of The New Republic in January 1937. Straight used his family fortune to subsidize a pro-Communist newspaper in the United Kingdom, The Daily Worker, but seems to have had little influence at The New Republic at the time. Instead, at the encouragement of his Soviet handlers, he took a position in the State Department, where he passed information primarily on economic affairs. By 1941, he had begun to lose interest in international communism. He left his job at the State Department and became a writer at the New Republic. His Soviet contacts attempted to woo him back into working for Soviet interests from that position, but Straight demurred and eventually severed his contacts with the NKVD.

    Efforts elsewhere proved more successful. Kim Philby, of later Cambridge Five fame, became a journalist after starting his career as a Soviet agent in 1934. He first wrote pro-Soviet material for the Review of Reviews, a minor liberal publication in the United Kingdom. But then in 1937, he received an offer to cover the Spanish Civil War as a correspondent for The Times. His Soviet handlers wanted him to report on Franco’s war effort and presumably to continue to cover events in a pro-Soviet fashion. Based on archival evidence, he may also have been tasked with assassinating Franco, a mission he clearly did not fulfill. Philby would join British intelligence’s Special Operations Executive in 1940, then MI6 in 1941. He would serve as the Soviet Union’s most effective agent until his escape to Moscow in 1963.

    Philby was but the most famous exemplar of a whole generation of leftist journalists and editors who received funding and direction from Moscow in the 1930s: By 1941, the NKVD had 22 journalists working directly as agents in the United States alone. The list included journalists writing for the United Press, Time Magazine, Reuters, CBS News, and other mainstream outlets. Besides those agents working directly for the Soviet government, there were numerous other “fellow travelers” who swam in the same circles and disseminated similar information. Their dual roles were rendered more difficult by the problem of defending the Great Terror and the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Hitler, but they continued to operate on behalf of Soviet interests as World War II began. For instance, one agent, Time magazine foreign correspondent Stephen Laird, would falsely paint the Soviet occupation of Poland starting in 1944 in glowing terms and described the rigged election of 1947 as “free and fair.”

    Moscow Enters Presidential Politics

    The recruitment of congressmen and the cooption of friendly journalists were not the NKVD’s or GRU’s (Soviet military intelligence) most blatant attempt to interfere in American politics. Whether or not President Donald Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign officials actively colluded with the Russian intelligence services, he was not the first presidential candidate to receive some form of direct or indirect assistance from Soviet or Russian intelligence agencies. The first documented case is a remarkable one, but little known today.

    During the spring of 1944, a cohort of senior Democrats around Franklin Delano Roosevelt began angling to have Henry Wallace, the sitting vice president, removed from the ticket for the 1944 presidential elections. They correctly perceived Wallace as overly sympathetic to communism and emotionally unstable. After some considerable controversy, they succeeded in convincing both Roosevelt and the Democratic establishment. Harry S. Truman, then senator from Missouri, became their favorite. After three rounds of balloting at the 1944 Democratic National Convention (the first round of which Wallace led) Truman finally obtained the vice-presidential nomination.

    Wallace viewed his removal as a betrayal. Truman offered Wallace the position of secretary of commerce as a sop, but he remained embittered. After Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, Wallace became even more aggrieved. At this juncture, he decided to put to use secret information he had learned as vice president. In October 1945, Wallace reached out to Anatoly Gorsky, then the Washington station chief for the NKGB (later KGB) to set up a secret meeting. Gorsky, of course, agreed.

    Wallace began their conversation by discussing the Truman administration’s attitude towards the Soviet Union. He noted that the Truman administration would like to invite Soviet scientists to visit the United States to witness American successes in nuclear power. But his banter soon turned indiscreet, as Wallace caricatured Truman as a “petty politico who got his current post by accident.” He proceeded to highlight his policy disagreements with Truman, including Wallace’s efforts to have America’s nuclear arsenal turned over to the U.N. Security Council. He then explained to Gorsky that there were two main factions “fighting for Truman’s ‘soul’”: a smaller pro-Soviet group (centering on Wallace) and a larger anti-Soviet group, made up of Secretary of State James Byrnes and Attorney General Tom Clark. Wallace, already eyeing the 1948 Democratic nomination, then suggested to the NKGB station chief that the Soviet Union should help the pro-Soviet faction, stating that, “you (meaning the USSR) could help this smaller group considerably, and we don’t doubt… your willingness to do this.”

    This remarkable conversation, preserved in the Russian archives, highlights both Wallace’s indiscretion as well as his perception of Soviet influence on the American political establishment. While Gorsky’s report of the conversation was sent to Moscow with alacrity, the NKGB declined to finance Wallace or his supporters. Had he succeeded, his intentions might have turned the U.S. government into an extension of Soviet intelligence: Wallace later suggested that he would have made Laurence Duggan and Harry Dexter White, both long-serving Russian intelligence assets in the U.S. government, his secretary of state and secretary of treasury. The consequences on the course of the Cold War would have been stark.

    From Spies to Hackers

    Anatoly Gorsky, Peter Gutzeit, and other Soviet intelligence operatives would doubtless marvel at the bold efforts Russian intelligence has made in interfering in European and American elections today. In their heyday, the Soviet Union’s foreign directorates were just learning the principles of their covert art. Although they succeeded in penetrating American political life through both politicians and journalists, their bigger dreams — of buying elections and candidates — remained unfulfilled. But the lessons their agencies learned have been passed through generations of practitioners to the present day. President Vladimir Putin, surrounded by his coterie of silovki (former military and intelligence operatives) have turned these intelligence tactics into a central facet of national strategy, seeking to undermine institutional stability abroad and produce favorable leaders in foreign states. The exact role of Russian intelligence in the 2016 American election remains unknown, but doubtless, the KGB and GRU operatives who built their first networks in America in the 1930s would be proud of their efforts.

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    Default Re: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

    I'd say that this is another hit piece on President Trump if I didn't know any better, the ongoing campaign to overturn an election by people butthurt that that vile Harpy Hillary Clinton isn't President today.

    Let that sink in; "President Hillary Clinton"....

    As for the Russians, let's say for the sake of argument that they had influenced the election. But how? By doing the American media's job for them of informing the American people and uncovering the very real attempt on the part of Clinton and the DNC to rig the Democratic primaries? The bribery/'pay to play' scandal of the Clinton Foundation and other foul misdeeds? No....

    It was Seth Rich at the DNC and Wikileaks who did all that. If anything the Russians-if the government is as machiavellian as some suggest-would want Clinton to have been elected, a weak and compromised American President, I would think. Distrust a former group of KGB or ex-communists all you want, worry and wonder if Russia is a threat to the United States (any other country with Nuclear weapons besides us could be a potential threat, that's reality) but Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. 25 years have made that place almost unrecognizable to anyone who holds to a Socialist creed.

    That's not to say that I trust Trump or Putin or any other politician for that matter, but I've got bigger concerns. ISIS, al-Qaida, are just a couple. Islam itself if present demographic trends continue, will rule every country in the world, in 100 years. That includes America and Russia too, and as an American who is Russian Orthodox Christian, that concerns me. As a friend of Israel and with ties to Jewry, that concerns me.

    Again, let me say that again and see how it sounds to people out there; ''President Hillary Clinton''. However influenced our recent election, whether it was MI6 or the Israelis, the Russians or the Chinese, or just Seth Rich and Wikileaks as is more likely, they did not just themselves but America and the whole world a favor.

    I don't have all the answers, never did and likely never will, but that's a future I don't want to see, any kind of Totalitarianism but specifically the one that appears to be engulfing the planet right now, Islamism.
    Don't like Fascists of any kind, Marxist, Islamist, red white black or brown, they can all take a long walk off a short pier.

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    Default Re: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

    The Commie Connection - FDR and Stalin

    For all those admirers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who believe he was a great president, remove the blinders and face up to the fact that his socialist mindset and administration destroyed the last remnants of the Old Republic. Most of these same cheer leaders for the “New Deal” are in love with big government and seek to empower a federal authority at the expense of the Federalism model that is based upon separations of power and States Rights. With the unholy alliance with the Soviet Union, FDR linked his inner objectives with the greatest autocrat liquidator that fought World War II, as a Communist expansionist to destroy most of the traditional institutions that make up Western Civilization.

    Cited in an article Obama right that Roosevelt was called a socialist and a communist, is an insightful quote. It indicates the true attitude and sympathies of FDR towards the Soviet regime.

    "The Russian newspapers during the last election [1932] published the photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt over the caption, 'The first communistic President of the United States,'" said Sen. Thomas Schall, a Republican from Minnesota. "Evidently the Russian newspapers had knowledge concerning the ultimate intent of the President, which had been carefully withheld from the voters in this country. In fact, the voters of the United States were meticulously misled as to such intentions." We found Schall's comments in the book, All But the People: Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Critics, 1933-1939.”

    While such condemnation should not be new to seasoned historians, the general public has been so isolated from the realities of the 1930’s and 1940’s that a refresher course is necessary to dispel all the favorable myths regarding the systematic deconstruction of America.

    Ponder the wisdom of one of the greatest America First proponents, quoted in the Communist influence over President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    “By 1938, Garet Garrett, distinguished newspaperman, author and editorial write for the Saturday Evening Post, published an essay, “The Revolution Was.” In the opening paragraph, he said:

    There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs of freedom (Garrett, The People’s Pottage, p. 7)

    Garrett went on to show that every problem faced by the New Deal was solved in a way which transformed the traditional concept of limited self government into a system that could not fail to:

    Ramify the authority and power of executive government—its power, that is, to rule by decrees and rules and regulations of its own making.

    Strengthen its hold on the economic life of the nation.

    Extend its power over the individual.

    Degrade Congress and the parliamentary principle.

    Impair the great American tradition of an independent Constitutional judicial power.

    Weaken all other powers—private enterprise, private finance, and the power of state and local governments.”

    This litany of betrayal is ignored in mainstream society, because it is distasteful to admit that the country was destroyed from the oval office itself.

    In the brilliant essay, The Friends of Uncle Joe, the deeply missed Joseph Sobran strikes to the core with his analysis.

    Roosevelt’s eulogists likewise avoid the subject of Stalin, for whom FDR had the highest regard, calling him “a Christian gentleman” during the Yalta conference. He had befriended Stalin from the first year of his administration, when he extended diplomatic recognition to the murderous pariah state. Time and again he chose to help “Uncle Joe” when he didn’t have to, appeasing him from a position of strength. Even Neville Chamberlain never idealized Hitler as “Uncle Adolf.” When FDR asked Pope Pius XII to condemn Hitler, Pius sent back word that if he did so he would also have to condemn Stalin; Roosevelt withdrew the request.

    Stalin had shown his true colors long before Roosevelt and Churchill took on as their ally the brave, bluff “Uncle Joe.” Had they never heard of the forced famine of Ukraine, the NKVD mass arrests, the Gulag camps, the purges and show trials, the murder of Trotsky, the invasions of Poland (with the Katyn Forest massacre of 15,000 Polish officers), Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania? All these things, and more, revealed not only the brutality of Stalin but the logic of Communism itself, which had begun its reign in Russia with the mass murder of Orthodox priests under Lenin. Communism was in essence a reversion to the principles of primitive warfare, directed not only against external enemies but against its own subjects if they resisted (or were even suspected of a disposition to resist) its tyranny.”

    For an in-depth look at Roosevelt and Stalin — The Subversion of FDR's Government by Communist Traitors and Fellow Travelers, the book review of M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein is worth a look. “The importance of this book is that it not only exposes the penetration of the U.S. government by full-fledged Soviet spies but also documents the subversion by communist "agents of influence" subservient to Stalin and the USSR high up in the FDR administration.”

    Doubting Roosevelt’s involvement, the sordid History, lies, FDR, and Stalin makes a powerful statement:

    “FDR praised Stalin’s constitution for guaranteeing religious freedom while ignoring the purges, show trials, aggression against countries adjacent to Russia, and the persecution of the Russian Christians. It may sound incredibly today but FDR called Stalin, the Communist butcher, a Christian gentleman. Ever read that in high school?

    FDR was Stalin’s best friend among world leaders and that is in spite of Stalin killing more people before WWII started than Hitler would kill during the war. Amazing is it not?”

    So what does all this mean? The absurdity that America and the English befriended Stalin as a necessary ally in the struggle to defeat Hitler misses the similar collectivist attitudes and authoritarian motives that both countries exhibited towards the New World Order that resulted from the disastrous conflict.

    Charles G. Stefan provides a retrospective view in the account, Roosevelt and the Wartime Summit Conferences with Stalin.

    “I conclude that FDR had no illusions about the nature of Stalin's régime. Recognizing the vital role played by the USSR in the war against Germany, however, he sought to develop personal contacts with the Soviet leader comparable to the close relations he had already established with Churchill. His objective was twofold: using persuasion, to ensure Soviet entry into the war against Japan and to enlist Soviet backing for the establishment of a United Nations along the lines proposed by the United States. At Yalta he achieved considerable success in achieving those basic goals.”

    What can be drawn from this evaluation? No doubt Roosevelt knew the sinister nature of the Soviet dictator, but to conclude that FDR was simply being pragmatic in forging an alliance to combat Nazism misses the underlying anti-liberty similarities that both potentates shared. Likewise the post war strategy was based upon implementing a universal tyranny under the globalist banner of world governance. Establishing the UN was the first step in dismantling sovereignty of independent countries.

    The despicable record of the 'Man of Steel', Joseph Stalin is painful to read much less digest. In the final scrutiny of 20th century evil, what makes the victor a hero? The world was not saved from National Socialism by the expansion of totalitarian communism. Nor was the emerging American empire a noble substitute for a limited government republic.

    The FDR legacy is not heroic and his shared sympathies with the ruthless Soviet oppressor are disgraceful. Degrees of evil are phantom separations when the ultimate purpose of either regime is to enslave and create dependency on their citizens. Each despot displays a flagrant disregard for respecting legitimate restrains on their powers, but every tyrant is willing to forfeit the natural rights of individuals to maintain and further their dominance of rule.

    This forbidden history is far too distasteful for most to face up to and therefore, many will just dismiss it as erroneous or fictitious. Such denial has become central to a society that ignores political truths if unpleasant and earth shattering.

    Confusion and self-delusion is the hallmark of a failed social structure. The Soviet gulag collapsed and it will not be long before the American police state implodes.
    Confronting one’s own history is often difficult. The U.S. Presidency is now a repressive dictatorship. Much of the blame for setting this trend into motion lies at the feet of Roosevelt and his fellow travelers.

    The term “Commie” has varied meaning and associations for different people. In the end, it embodies authoritarianism with no trace of compassion or respect for the individual.

    The State once comprised supreme authority. This new millennium has produced a one world realm of globalism under the banner of the international community. Individual and independent sovereignty was assaulted last century. Now such intrinsic aspects must be completely purged from the final solution. Blame the collectivists for destroying self determination.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

    Remember how news came out about the fake Russian Facebook accounts buying elections ads? It was being painted in the press as ostensibly pro-Trump. Well, if you dig a little deeper past the headlines, it turns out they were being used to stoke division on both sides in an effort to create chaos in our system.

    Russian-Bought Facebook Ads Sought To Amplify Political Divisions

    September 26, 2017

    New descriptions of the infamous Russian-bought politically themed ads on Facebook shared with CNN suggest at least some of the ads were working at cross purposes on a range of issues.

    Sources with knowledge of the ads tell CNN that they ranged from posts promoting gun rights and the Second Amendment to posts warning about what they said was the threat undocumented immigrants posed to American democracy.

    Some ads promoted Black Lives Matter while others decried it, as the Washington Post reported Monday.

    The apparent goal of the ads, the sources who spoke with CNN said, was to amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos around the 2016 presidential campaign, not necessarily to promote one candidate or cause over another.

    Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr, a Republican, told reporters Tuesday that the use of Facebook and other social media platforms by Russian-linked accounts appears to be about creating chaos on both ends of the political spectrum, not necessarily collusion between the Trump camp and Russian officials.

    "Listen, I've said I don't think this is about collusion. Facebook is a company that most advertisers rely on Facebook's information to determine what the target is," Burr told reporters. "I think clearly there was an effort to bring some chaos to groups on the right and the left, so there's nothing that, at least preliminary, would lean toward one candidate versus the other. I think there was equal money sent trying to create some type of chaos on both sides of the political or ideological spectrum. We'll find more as we go in."

    Burr and Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel, said they had not seen the Facebook ads sold to Russian-linked accounts as of Tuesday afternoon.

    Burr also said he doesn't want the committee to be the one to make the ads public when they are handed over by Facebook.

    "We don't routinely release any information that's shared with the committee and I'd like to keep the committee in that mode," he said.

    Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said in a statement earlier this month that "the vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate."

    "Rather," Stamos said, "the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum -- touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights."

    Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said this week that the aim of the ad-buyers "was to sow chaos."

    "In many cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout," he told reporters.

    Facebook has already handed over copies of the ads and information about the relevant accounts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It is expected to give the same information to the Senate and House Intelligence Committee later this week.

    Still, for Congress as for the public, many questions remain.

    Facebook has not yet revealed where or how the ads were targeted -- that is, what kinds of people were shown the ads, or where they may have lived. To date, the company has only said that one quarter of the ads were geographically targeted, but they have not disclosed specific locations or said anything about targeting based on demographics or interest groups.

    The targeting issue is especially important because, if it appears that the targeting was particularly sophisticated, there may be questions raised about how the Russians knew where to direct their ads, and information about the targeting could help investigators determine whether or not there was any collusion between these ad buyers and the Trump campaign.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee will also hear from Twitter on Thursday about how foreign nationals may have used its ad service to influence the 2016 election. Twitter has declined to shed any light so far on what information it plans to give to Congress.

    Meanwhile, the disclosure that Russians used social media advertising to meddle in American politics has brought new scrutiny on the big tech companies.

    That scrutiny has forced tech leaders like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to change their public stances regarding social media's role in the 2016 election.

    In the days after the election, Zuckerberg said it was "crazy" to think that fake news on Facebook played a major role in the outcome of the election. As the Washington Post reported Sunday, Zuckerberg even downplayed the issue after President Obama personally appealed to him last November to take the threat of fake news seriously.

    Now, Zuckerberg is promising a number of changes to the platform to prevent foreign nationals from influencing future elections.

    Last week, he announced that future political ads will include a disclosure about which Facebook page posted them, and visitors to that page will be able to see all the ads a group has run on the platform.

    Zuckerberg said Facebook is also strengthening its own review process for political ads, which are often bought through Facebook's automated system without any interaction between buyers and Facebook employees. The company is adding 250 more people to its election integrity team, expanding its partnerships with official election commissions around the world to flag risks, and looking into ways of sharing similar information about bad actors with other tech companies. It is also looking into expanding its anti-bullying system to political harassment.

    See also, Russian involvement in the recent "take a knee" NFL debate to create chaos.

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