Russian Influence Operations In Washington

Speaking to the U.S.-Russia Forum on June 16, 2014, the Russian Ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, told the participants that there are “no ideological divides” between the U.S. and Russia. He said both countries were “market economies” with “democratic systems.” He called for increased U.S.-Russian cooperation and claimed that the Edward Snowden “affair”—the case in which the former CIA and NSA contract employee fled to Russia with highly classified documents—was “thrown on us,” as if the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, was caught flat-footed by his defection.

With such absurd and outrageous statements, Kislyak betrayed true Russian intentions, as well as major disinformation themes, that continue to confuse Western audiences. Officially, he spoke on “Russia Relations: Restoring a Constructive Agenda.”

The event, held in the Hart Senate Office Building in the nation’s capital, was a major exercise in Russian influence operations.

Politically, participants in the U.S.-Russia Forum included figures from the left, such as Stephen Cohen, a professor from New York University and Princeton University, and his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. But people also came from Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine and the Ron Paul Institute.

In the past, the Russians could only count on support from the “progressive” side of the American political spectrum. Figures from the American conservative movement are now on the Putin bandwagon.

Alaska’s Republican Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell “talked about the need for cooperation with Russia despite disputes over Crimea and Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, which have brought U.S.-Russia relations to their lowest point in decades,” according to a press release from his office.

Treadwell is running for the Senate against former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller in the August 19 Republican primary.

Another speaker was Democrat Mark Ritchie, the secretary of state of Minnesota.

Equally significant, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern arose from the audience during the question period to state that the U.S. had provoked Putin and had somehow violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum by supporting Ukraine’s anti-communist government.

Responding, speaker Robert Legvold, a professor at Columbia University, said such an argument was “not plausible,” and plugged his article in Foreign Affairs on a “New Cold War” between the U.S and Russia. Unlike other speakers, such as Cohen, he did not excuse Russia’s aggression.

McGovern, an associate of Edward Snowden, had served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. His bio says that his duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, and that he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

It is apparent that McGovern’s “analysis” of Russian intentions, whatever it may have been, did not deter President Reagan from exposing and confronting the “Evil Empire.”

However, McGovern is today firmly on the Russian side.

The 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by the Russian government, was supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity, in exchange for giving its Soviet nuclear weapons back to Moscow. Russia violated the agreement in a blatant fashion when it invaded Ukraine.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

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