But David says elections are often close

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canada goose store The Department https://www.canadagoosesale.biz of Justice indicted 13 Russians for attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election. Russia called this operation Project Latka (ph), and it involved hiring dozens of operatives and spending millions of dollars. What did they get Canada Goose online for their money? Well, some canada goose factory sale Twitter accounts and clever hashtags, some social media ads, a custom built cage that could fit on a flatbed truck.

canada goose DAVID KRIS: You know, not everything that spies do involves, you know, like James Bond playing roulette in a Canada Goose Jackets tuxedo and then driving out of town in his Jaguar.

VANEK SMITH: This is THE INDICATOR, Planet canada goose Money’s buy canada goose jacket cheap quick take on the news. I’m Stacey Vanek Smith. Today we dig into the budget of Russia’s campaign to undermine American democracy.

Canada Goose sale VANEK SMITH: Today’s indicator is 73 million rubles a month. That is more than a million dollars a month. And according to the Justice Department’s indictment, that is what Russia canada goose store invested in its stated goal to, quote, “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” Russia invested this money in Project Latka for years, and that is not even counting the millions in bonuses Canada Goose Outlet that Russia handed out to employees for good work.

David Kris is a national security consultant. He worked for uk canada goose the Justice Department for years, did a lot of work on Russian sleeper cells. He was at his computer at work on Friday when the indictment was released. He opened it right away.

KRIS: The day it came out I read (laughter) just went from Page 1 to the end.

buy canada goose jacket VANEK SMITH: Thirty seven pages in Canada Goose sale all. And he says it was riveting.

canada goose deals KRIS: It canadian goose jacket reads a little bit like the technical aspects of canada goose coats on sale a novel. It’s really a very stunning document.

Canada Goose online VANEK SMITH: David says for him, the most amazing part was all the detail, all of the little ways in which this team of around 80 Russians went about trying to disrupt the culture of an entire country.

canada goose clearance KRIS: There are some money quotes in this thing.

VANEK SMITH: One part of the indictment talks about the Russians commissioning a little cage that would fit onto the back of a flatbed truck and then hiring an actress to wear a Hillary Clinton costume and stand inside of that cage to get people riled up during a rally. The Russians also organized social media accounts masquerading as Trump supporters, Muslim activists, anti immigration activists, Trump haters. They organized Trump rallies in areas where the race looked tight. And that’s about it. That is how Canada Goose Online Russia spent a million dollars cheap canada goose uk a month trying to undermine America’s democracy. And when I first looked at the indictment, I was expecting to read about all kinds of high tech operations like Russians hacking into voting machines or committing bank fraud.

canada goose coats on sale It sounds so ragtag and kind of almost canada goose uk outlet comical, sort of the opposite of what you think of as sort of covert government operations.

canadian goose jacket KRIS: To me, this looks like activity that is going on canada goose clearance all the time by ordinary Americans to influence one another’s opinions. It’s not highly polished. I’ll grant you that. But in terms of, you know, attacking Democratic institutions and exacerbating divisions within the United States and getting us all stirred up, boy, seems to me again that they have succeeded beyond their canada goose clearance sale wildest dreams.

VANEK SMITH: In other words, it worked. The Facebook groups and ranting posts and hashtags and custom built cages it worked.

KRIS: They apparently have canada goose uk black friday hundreds of thousands of online followers in their controlled groups. This is Paragraph 34 of the indictment. They you know, in Florida, they in Paragraph 71 is a reference to the cheap Canada Goose fact that they bought Facebook ads that reached more than 59,000 Facebook users, and more than 8,300 of them responded uk canada goose outlet by clicking through.

buy canada goose jacket cheap VANEK SMITH: Those numbers don’t sound so impressive, especially considering there buy canada goose jacket are 300 million Americans. But David says elections are often close, although he will not weigh in on whether the Russian efforts changed the outcome of the presidential race. Still, President Trump won Florida by around a hundred thousand votes, so going after microgroups was probably a good investment for Russia. And the bare bones approach canada goose black friday sale was probably exactly the right way to target them.

canada goose black friday sale KRIS: They’re trying here to make themselves look like ordinary Americans doing grass roots stuff. A certain what you call ragtag element to the thing I think is actually in some ways really good tradecraft to actually look like the kind of people who spend time in the Twitterverse or whatever you call it.

VANEK SMITH: The indictment quotes the email of one Russian spy as saying, I created all these pictures and posts and the Americans believed that it was written by their people. David thinks 73 million rubles a month, more than a million dollars a canada goose coats month, was a pretty good deal for Russia.

cheap Canada Goose KRIS: I am highly confident that they think of this as a canada goose uk shop very good bargain and that they got a tremendous bang for their buck or for their ruble that they are continuing to enjoy even now.

VANEK SMITH: David says we can bank on the fact that the Russians will try this again. Now, he says, we have to start spending some money to figure out how to keep outsiders from meddling in our elections, although the solution might be as unsophisticated as the problem. For instance, one of the things Facebook plans to do in www.canadagoosesale.biz the future is send physical postcards with a verification code to people who buy their ads. That will make it harder for people in other countries to fake their locations.


VANEK SMITH: THE INDICATOR is produced by Darius Rafieyan and edited by Paddy Hirsch. Thanks for Canada Goose Parka listening.

Canada Goose Outlet [POST BROADCAST CORRECTION: In this episode, the Russian operation is mispronounced. It is Project Lakhta not Project Latka.]


Canada Goose Parka NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary.