The Reliable Sources newsletter thingie has an intriguing bit in it about the notorious Christopher Steele Dossier:
“What are BuzzFeed’s investigators finding out?
“Since BuzzFeed is being sued for publishing the Trump dossier, the company has a team of investigators “led by a former top FBI and White House cybersecurity official” working to verify parts of the dossier, Jana Winter reports for Foreign Policy. “If it’s fact, it’s not libel, that’s the idea,” a source told her.
“BF spokesman Matt Mittenthal says “we can’t comment on the specific legal tools used to defend BuzzFeed’s First Amendment rights in this case…”
It’s true, of course, that the solid gold defense of libel is to prove what you published is the truth. And, if you happened to prove the Russian Pee Hookers story is true, well that would be a nice plus, and if an outside party proves that Putin really does have kompromat on Comrade Prznint Stupid, well, that would help us all if Mueller ends up fired.
Thank you, Buzzfeed.
And meanwhile, Livewire tells us…
“The U.S. intelligence community believes that Russia will “continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople, and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” according to an assessment it released along with the appearance of top officials at a congressional hearing.”
And we’ve done nothing to improve our defenses. Thanks a lot, Comrade Trump!
UPDATE 1: More from Axios
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts [were] successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats said.
- Coats said that the threat of foreign governments using social media tactics wasn’t the purview of just one agency. “There’s no single agency, quote, in charge,” he said.
- Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr noted broadly that the committee and the intelligence community has had immense difficulty in communicating with tech companies about “a way forward that is in commonality.”
- Burr asked NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers whether he was worried that dynamic would get more fraught: “Yes I am, because quite frankly I wonder so how bad does this have to get before we realize we have to do some things fundamentally differently,” Rogers replied.