Ex-US intelligence officers call attention to American election meddling abroad

Ex-US intelligence officers call attention to American election meddling abroad

As the Democrats continue to condemn US President Donald Trump over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which initiated an ongoing investigation into the matter, several former CIA intelligence officers and other researchers published an article in cooperation with The New York Times in which they say that not only Russia, but the United States has also been interfering with elections in other countries for decades, and will "hopefully" continue to do so because it holds the 'moral high ground.'

The article suggests that the methods used by the United States to meddle in the elections of other countries do not differ from the ones that Russia is employing, and while methods might differ, the officers say that there's nothing much the Russians have done that the Americans haven't.

"If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all," retired CIA veteran Steven Hall told The New York Times' Scott Shane.

Hall, who worked for the CIA's Russian Operations for three decades until his retirement in 2015, states that the agency had "absolutely" engaged in election interference and added that he hopes "we keep doing it."

The thirteen Russian nationals who were indicted last Friday as part of the FBI's and Mueller's Russia probe were accused of waging "information warfare against the United States of America," by sowing discord on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The information era has opened up new doors for governments to conduct interference operations, however these are not the only means that have been used, according to CIA researcher Loch Johnson with the University of Georgia.

"We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash," Johnson said, adding that in the late 1980s he received information by CIA operatives that the agency was planting scores of fake news stories in foreign newspapers to forward the American agenda.

The article did not however condemn these operations and blatant violations of international law.

"It's like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters," Hall said, implying that American overseas operations were done in the name of the 'greater good' and the sake of democracy.

Contrary to the alleged Russian interference in American elections, which according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not affect the results whatsoever, US interference in has actually resulted in regime change in some Latin-American, Eastern-European and Middle-Eastern countries.

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