The Russia Investigations: Sens. Burr, Warner To Give Update; Spotlight On Twitter

The Russia Investigations: Sens. Burr, Warner To Give Update; Spotlight On Twitter

Last week in the Russia investigations: Washington gears up for the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Twitter gets its turn in the barrel and states learn at last about the extent of last year's attack. "They were taking both sides of the argument this past weekend and pushing them out from their troll farms as much as they could to just raise the noise level in America and make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue as they're trying to push divisiveness in the country," he said. Twitter says it gets all this. The Department of Homeland Security had talked to those with "ownership" of targeted systems, as Pam writes — in some cases, private vendors or local election offices. Allen asked Spicer about all that paper he kept. But Stone said he hasn't heard from special counsel Mueller.

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Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C, (right) and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., listen during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 21 on Capitol Hill.

Last week in the Russia investigations: Washington gears up for the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Twitter gets its turn in the barrel and states learn at last about the extent of last year’s attack.

D.C. waits to hear from Burr and Warner

Before we take a look back at the past week in the Russia imbroglio, a look ahead: The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday.

Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., haven’t convened a public hearing of their committee for months — and that was to confirm nominees for intelligence agency jobs — so this will be the first chance in awhile to hear at length from both leaders together. Warner makes a lot of appearances on TV and in the press; Burr much less so.

Look for the two leaders to give the latest about their conversations with Facebook and Twitter. The two lawmakers have been frustrated by the lack of disclosure from the social media platforms about the way they were used by Russian influence-mongers to interfere with last year’s presidential election. The Senate committee and its House counterpart both plan to convene hearings next month with the social platforms.

“Deeply disappointing”

Warner, the Intelligence Committee’s vice chairman, was not happy last week with what he heard from Twitter. Representatives for the microblogging service — which is much smaller than Facebook by every measure but still highly visible in key places — went to Capitol Hill to talk about what they’ve found so far. And, per Warner, it wasn’t good enough.

“[T]he presentation that the Twitter team made to the Senate Intel staff today was deeply disappointing,” Warner told reporters Thursday, per ReCode’s Tony Romm. “The notion that their work was basically derivative, based upon accounts that Facebook had identified, showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again, begs many more questions than they [answer].”

The use of Twitter as a medium for influence operations hasn’t become a historical question. It continues in real-time even as members of Congress and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller try to piece together what happened in the election last year.

On Wednesday, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., invoked the ongoing national debate over free speech and protesting in the NFL, where some players have been taking a knee during the national anthem to call attention to what they call police brutality against blacks. That protest has brought about a strong reaction of its own from President Trump and conservatives, who call it disrespectful. And as Lankford pointed out, influence-mongers are using Twitter to turn up the volume as much as they can.

“We watched, even this weekend, the Russians and their troll farms, their Internet folks, start hashtagging out ‘take a knee’ and also hashtagging out ‘boycott the…

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