Josh Rogin has what is still a shocking story: Our intelligence agencies have concluded that Vladimir Putin and his top aides are directing disinformation and an influence campaign against Joe Biden.
As someone who closely tracked this sort of thing in 2016, I'm familiar with the social media patterns and how they're targeted. Now it's happening again, and is being amplified by American voices like Rudy Giuliani. Via the Washington Post:
“We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November,” the first line of the document says, according to the sources.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department have identified Derkach as a Russian agent, but it has not been publicly reported that the CIA, NSA and FBI believed Putin may be personally directing the campaign. Derkach has denied working on behalf of Moscow.
The CIA assessment described Derkach’s efforts in detail and said that his activities have included working through lobbyists, members of Congress and U.S. media organizations to disseminate and amplify his anti-Biden information. Though it refers to Derkach’s interactions with a “prominent” person connected to the Trump campaign, the analysis does not identify the person. Giuliani, who has been working with Derkach publicly for several months, is not named in the assessment.
Go read the rest, it's important. Because people convince themselves they're too smart to fall for it! Here's a Twitter thread you should read, too.
As Allison points out, the disinformation wasn't completely fabricated -- it was woven into some facts, which made it harder to untangle.