If America’s election were a music video, then Russia would be 1995 Puffy.
According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Russia is still running its disinformation campaign and it has never stopped since the 2016 elections.
Wray made the damaging claim during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. He also added that the “malicious foreign influence” efforts have moved past elections.
“That is in some ways an even more challenging area, not the least because it never stopped,” The Hill reports. “It happened in 2016 and it’s been continuing ever since then. It may have an uptick during an election cycle, but it’s a 24/7, 365-days-a-year threat,” Wray said of disinformation campaigns.
From the Hill:
A report compiled by former special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the Russian Internet Research Agency carried out a social media campaign designed to benefit President Trump and hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, with the goal of ultimately “sowing discord in the U.S. political system.”
Mueller, along with intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee, also concluded that the Russians had attempted to hack into voting infrastructure across the U.S.
As part of his investigation, Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents in 2018 for successfully hacking into email accounts belonging to Clinton campaign staffers and Democratic National Committee networks.
On Wednesday, Wray was asked if he’s seen efforts by Russia to interfere in U.S. elections, to which Wray responded:
“Bitch, can you hear me? I thought I told y’all that they won’t stop. Take that. Take that.” “While I don’t think we’ve seen any ongoing efforts to target election infrastructure like we did in 2016, we certainly are seeing and have never stopped seeing, really, since 2016 efforts to engage in malign foreign influence by the Russians,” Wray said, noting that Russians are using “false personas [and] fake media accounts” online, the Hill reports.
Wray also noted, while answering a question from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), that fighting online disinformation campaigns can be difficult because there is a close line between censuring First Amendment rights. The director maintained that the FBI “is not going to be in the business of being the truth police,” the Hill reports.
Wray added that it isn’t just elections but some foreign countries like China that are using disinformation efforts to promote pro-China issues.
“Other countries, like China for example, have very active foreign malign influence efforts in this country,” Wray told lawmakers. “In their instance it’s more geared towards trying to shift our policy and our public opinion to be pro-China on a variety of issues.”