12:04 GMT29 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The media report about a US overseas cyber operation to deter alleged Russian election meddling is nothing more than a political stunt designed to feed the mainstream narrative to influence the November 6 midterm elections, former Pentagon analyst Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik.

    On Tuesday, the New York Times reported citing officials that US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) for the first time launched an overseas operation to counter Russian hackers many of which they have identified. The report also underscored that US officials believe Russia continues to spread false information to influence American voters.

    "Releasing the news item now seems to be politically driven," Kwiatkowski said on Wednesday. "For the announcement to reveal they are acting only and specifically against Russian hackers feeds into the mainstream script very well."

    On November 6, in less than two weeks, Americans go to the polls in midterm elections to vote for candidates running for the US House of Representatives, one third of the Senate, and other local positions.

    Kwiatkowski said the report was a "political play" that would likely be used by Democratic candidates challenging Trump supporters in the midterms.

    The former pentagon analyst also warned that the report could have a chilling effect upon media and free exchanges of opinions for fear of running into the cyber arm of the US military.

    "Given that encrypting your email and anonymous surfing makes you a person of interest in cyberspace, this kind of military presence is concerning," she said.

    In addition, Kwiatkowski said, the cyber division of the US military wants to ensure its share of the enormous Pentagon budget.

    "Now that trillions of dollars have been forecasted for the new US Space Command and for the nuclear restoration and modernization programs, as well as all existing commands and services, US Cyber Command wants to ensure it is seen as relevant by the public," Kwiatkowski explained.

    Kwiatkowski pointed out that the New York Times article did not remind its readers that US Cyber Command was essentially the National Security Agency (NSA) with a domestic collection function.

    The more common aspect of Cyber Command and the NSA, as revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden was gaining knowledge of what citizens were thinking and doing, how they were associating and trying to ensure that activity did not threaten government continuity, Kwiatkowski said.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied all allegations of election meddling as groundless fabrications designed to demonize Russia and serve US domestic political agendas.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    cyber operations, trolls, 2018 midterm elections, National Security Agency (NSA), CYBERCOM, Karen Kwiatkowski, US
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