NBC News: Signal presents factory of lies: Democracy under attack

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Russia has a century-old playbook for “disinformation,” historians and former intelligence officers say.

Factory of lies: Russia's disinformation playbook exposed

By Ben Popken, NBC News

Americans who want to be ready for the next Russian attack can just read an old newspaper.

During the Cold War, hundreds of bogus headlines around the world appeared: The U.S. invented AIDS. Wealthy Americans were adopting children to harvest their organs. If these sound like the kind of conspiracies pushed by Russian trolls during the 2016 election, there’s a good reason: They were once promulgated by Russian or Soviet agents.

Russia has a century-old playbook for “disinformation,” historians and former intelligence officers say, recycling tactics and narratives, and giving clues to detect their next information-warfare attack on our elections.

“I believe in Russia they do have their own manual that essentially prescribes what to do,” said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI agent.

“The main difference is the technology available to them,” said Todd Leventhal, a retired senior counter-disinformation officer at the State Department. “The methodology is the same.”

Read the full articlehere.

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