Rosenstein Defends Charging Foreign Agents US Can’t Arrest


Speaking Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also said the Justice Department will notify the USA public when it identifies efforts by foreign government to target US politics.

Impact operations assumed by alien governments are a kind of knowledge of warfare, Mr. Rosenstein said in a speech at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "The Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election is just one tree in a growing forest".

"Do not underestimate the long arm of American law - or the persistence of American law enforcement", Rosenstein said, pausing for applause.

An uproar erupted this week over President Donald Trump's failure to publicly confront Russian President Vladimir Putin at their Helsinki summit over Moscow's meddling in the 2016 USA election.

Butina privately compared herself to a Soviet-era propagandist and used her personal connections with the National Rifle Association and religious organizations to further her goals.

"If this disclosure requirement had been around in 2016, I firmly believe that it would have served as a meaningful deterrent after Russia's interference was first discovered, and it would have informed voters more quickly and more forcefully that a foreign government was trying to affect their vote", said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who two years ago pressed the Obama administration to call out Russia's activities.

"Foreign influence operations include covert actions by foreign governments meant to sow division in our society, undermine confidence in our democratic institutions, and otherwise affect political sentiment and public discourse to achieve geo-political objectives", the report says.

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US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Monday that the Russian threat was "ongoing" and "pervasive" ahead of the November congressional elections.

The goal of those campaigns was to exacerbate social divisions and undermine confidence in government institutions, Rosenstein said.

The policy announced by Rosenstein is part of a report issued by the Justice Department's Cyber Digital Task Force, which was created in February.

Almost all f those efforts have been described in cases brought by Mueller and the Justice Department this year.

He warned of a continued threat and the report highlighted five types of operations the government must counter: cyberattacks on election infrastructure such as voter registration databases and voting machines; targeted attacks on political organizations, campaigns and public officials; covert operations to help or hurt campaigns; the spread of disinformation on social media; and the use of lobbyists, foreign media and other organizations to influence lawmakers and the public.

The report was written by lawyers from several parts of the Justice Department, among them the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the national security division and the criminal division.