WASHINGTON, February 17, 2018: Well, well. Friday, a Washington, D.C. grand jury handed down a federal indictment against the so-called Russian 13 and three companies, saying they plotted to conduct “information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. persons on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Bye-bye Trump/Russia collusion nonsense
Rosenstein then said,
“The Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activity, promote political campaigns and stage political rallies. The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians. After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies… to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York on the same day.”
Listed among the Russia 13 most important American colluders were social networking sites Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, the Russian 13 formed political Facebook groups and masqueraded as GOP organizations on Twitter starting as far back as 2014, a full year before real estate tycoon Donald Trump announced he would seek the Republican nomination for president.
Pulling a Hillary Clinton
And here is an interesting tidbit:
“In order to avoid detection and impede investigation by U.S. authorities… Defendants and their co-conspirators deleted and destroyed data, including emails.”
The Russian 13 obviously picked up a few tips from Hillary Clinton, an expert at destroying cellphones and computer hard drives containing evidentiary emails… by the tens of thousands.
Espionage or Nixonian political pranks?
In the annals of Russian espionage, the U.S. indictment of the Russian 13 reads more like an elaborate college prank and a lot less like the atomic spy cases of the 1950s.
In fact, it reminds me of the antics performed by Donald Segretti. Segretti was a member of President Richard Nixon’s political dirty-tricks unit.
Segretti worked for Nixon’s 1972 Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) and:
- Spread rumors Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson fathered an illegitimate child and was arrested in the 1950s for committing homosexual acts.
- Released forged letters in which Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Ed Muskie made disparaging statements about French Canadians, Israel and others, which eventually led to his departure from the Democratic primaries.
- Placed announcements in newspapers publicizing political rallies for Democratic presidential candidates who knew nothing of them and, therefore, did not appear.
All the above represent the sillier aspects of the Watergate scandal. Sagretti was sentenced to six months in prison serving four.
Donald Segretti and his team of political tricksters successfully sabotaged the candidacies of Democrats who posed a viable political threat to Nixon in the general election. All whle maneuvering wide-eyed Democratic voters into nominating the ultra-liberal Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota.
In the presidential election of 1972, Richard Nixon won 49 states to 1 in the Electoral College, including McGovern’s home state. McGovern won Massachusetts.
Getting back to Friday’s announced indictment, it says the Russian conspirators:
“… purchased advertisements on Facebook to promote the ‘Support Hillary. Save Muslims’ rally… ordered posters… with the quote attributed to Clinton that read, ‘I think Sharia Law will be a powerful new direction of freedom.’”
Now, you have to admit, that’s pretty funny.