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.”
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