Russia has not stopped interfering with the U.S. political system and Facebook’s revelation about accounts that were attempting to influence politics bears the hallmarks of Russia’s activities during the 2016 election, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.
“This is identical to Russia’s behavior in the run-up to the 2016 election, where the first objective was to sow discord, discontent, and doubt about the truth,” Clapper, now a CNN security consultant, told CNN’s “New Day.”
Facebook officials Tuesday said 32 accounts were removed from Facebook and Instagram after it was determined they appeared fake and that they were involved in “coordinated” political behavior. The social media company stopped short of saying Russia was behind the effort aimed at influencing efforts to influence the upcoming midterm elections.
Facebook disclosed its findings after The New York Times reported on them, and Clapper commended the company for being open and transparent. A company official also said representatives have meet in private with House and Senate members this week.
“I think what is interesting about this is that the Russians went to school on why they were exposed in the run up to the 2016 election,” said Clapper, and this made the efforts come out as more anonymous and secure.
He added that he thinks the revelation is only the “tip of the iceberg” and further investigation needs done on other social media platforms, such as Twitter.
“I think it is much more widespread than what has been exposed by Facebook so far,” said Clapper. “They are getting smarter and smarter about them becoming the generators of these ads.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence blamed the Obama administration for Russian meddling, saying President Donald Trump’s administration inherited a cyber-crisis.”
“[S]adly, previous administrations have let the American people down when it came to cyber defense,” Pence said during the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Summit in New York City,” Fox News reported.
“At the outset of this administration, it became clear from early on: In a very real sense, we inherited a cyber-crisis.”
“It a favorite past time in this town to blame the last crowd,” said Clapper, who served under President Barack Obama. This included having a person in the White House who was responsible for cyber-security.
“To President Obama’s credit, he did directly and pointedly talk about [Russia’s] interference,” said Clapper. “It was President Obama that tasked the intelligence community to deal with it today. . . we could have done more, sure, but we did a lot.”
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