AP via FOX 31 reports the local angle in today’s big story as the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections continues–within today’s indictment of numerous Russian nationals and three organizations for fraud and identity theft in connection with ad buys and other actions to influence the 2016 elections, an indicator of what places and voters would be most valuable for targeting with disinformation.
Purple states. Like Colorado.
Russian operatives were told by an unnamed person in the U.S. they should focus their activities in Colorado and other purple states in a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, prosecutors said Friday.
Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were charged Friday with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
The indictment , brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.
The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.
Here’s the indictment in its entirety. We don’t yet know how the information that led to the indictment was obtained, and there are no specific incidents cited–only that Russian operatives traveled to Colorado, were recommended by at least one “grassroots activist” in Texas to focus on “purple states” including Colorado, and that afterwards the Russians themselves used the same language to describe the operational phase of their mission:
We expect there will be many more details uncovered in the coming weeks, and it needs to happen. It’s only a matter of time before specific aliases and front groups are revealed that local political observers will recognize from the 2016 election. We don’t want to leap into speculation, but from the right-wing trolls besieging the Colorado politics hashtags on Twitter to innumerable cases of fake news planted on Facebook and sudden rushes of like-minded comments to news stories, there is a huge body of content to sift through for evidence of “active measures” from what are now known persons and entities.
Even though purple Colorado did not vote to elect Donald Trump, we most definitely need to know how hard the Russians tried to flip our state. And when we find that out, we’d bet real money that there will be some extremely embarrassed Colorado Republicans. We will know who among them was duped into spreading disinformation from a foreign intelligence effort to disrupt an American election.
And though maybe not criminal, that will be a harsh indictment indeed.