tv Senate Intelligence Panel Warned Russians Play All Sides CSPAN March 30, 2017 12:35pm-2:00pm EDT
morning session which you can watch on c-span.com. type the committee's name in the search bar. the hearing will resume at 2:00 with a cyber security specialist and retired general keith alexander, the former director of the national security agency answering questions about russian agencies facilities or fake news during account november election cycle. the hearing will reair tonight on c-span. this morning, russian president validity mir putin denied allegations that his country meddled in the november elections telling a forum this morning, read my lips. no. he added that the charges are fictional, elewisry, problem vocations and lies. those comments being reported by several news agencies earlier this morning. and when this hearing reconvenes at 2:00 p.m., it will move over to c-span. right now, here on c-span3, we're taking you back to the starting of the morning session.
>> i'd like to call this hearing to order. i apologize to our witnesses that we had a vote that was called at 10:00. and most members are in the process of making their way from there to here. this morning, the committee will engage in an activity that's quite rare for us. an open hearing on an ongoing critical intelligence question. the role of russian active measures past and present. as many of you know this committee is conducting a thorough independent and nonpartisan review of the russian active measures campaign conducted against the 2016 u.s. elections. some of the intelligence provided to the committee is extremely sensitive and requires
that most of the work be conducted in a secure setting to maintain the integrity of the information and protect and to protect the very sensitive sources and methods that gave us access to that intelligence. however, the vice chairman and i understand the gravity of the issues that we're here reviewing and have decided that it's crucial that we take the rare step of discussing publicly an ongoing intelligence question. that's why we've convened this second open hearing on the topic of russian active measures. and i can assure you to the extent possible that the committee will hold additional open hearings on this issue. the american public indeed all democratic societies need to understand that line actors are using old techniques with new plat fors to undermine our democratic institutions. this hearing entitled
"disinformation, a primer in active measures and influence campaigns," will consist of two panels. and will provide a foundational understanding of russian active measures and information operations campaigns. the first panel will examine the history and characteristics of those campaigns. the second panel will examine the history and characteristics of those campaigns and the role and april capabilities of cyber operations in support of these activities. unfortunately, you will learn today that these efforts by russian to discredit the u.s. and weaken the west are not new. these efforts are in fact at the heart of russian and previous soviet union intelligence efforts. you will learn today that ha our community has been a target of russian information warfare propaganda and cybercampaigns. and still is. the efforts our experts will outline today continue unabated.
the take away from today's hearing, we're all targets of a sophisticated and capable adversary and we must engage in a whole of government approach to combat russian active measures. today we'll receive testimony from expert who have in some cases worked directly to respond to active measures who understand the history and the context of active measures and xwhos whose significant experience and knowledge will shed new light on the problem and provide useful context. doctors good saun and rumer, mr. watts, we're greatsful to you for your appearance here today. this afternoon we will reconvene and welcome witnesses who will discuss the technical side of the question, sip ber operations including computer network exploitation, social media and online propaganda activities and how they enable and promote
russian influenced campaigns and information operations. we have a full day ahead of us and i'm confident that the testimony you will hear today will help you to establish a foundational understanding of the problem as the community continues its inquiry into russian activities. finally, i'd like to commend the vice chairman for his dedication to the goals of the committee's inquiry and to the integrity of the process. the vice chairman and i realize that if we politicize this process, our efforts will likely fail. the public deserves to hear the truth about possible russian involvement in our elections. how they came to be involved, how we may have failed to prevent that involvement, what what actions were taken in response if any and what we plan to do to ensure the integrity of future free elections at the heart of our democracy. gentlemen, thank you again for your willingness to be here and i turn to the vice chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to welcome our
witnesses today. today's hearing is important to help understand the role russia played in the 2016 presidential elections. as the u.s. intelligence community unanimously assessed in january of this year, russia sought to hijack our democratic process and that most important part of our democratic process, our presidential elections. as we'll learn today, russian's strategy and tactics are not new. but they're brazen news certainly was. hearing is also important because it's open as the chairman mentioned. which is sometimes unusual for this committee. due to the classified nature of our works we typically work behind closed doors but today's public hearing will help i hope the american public at large understand how the kremlin made effective use of its hacking skills to steal and weaponenize
information and engage in a coordinated effort to damage a particular candidate and to undermine public confidence in our democratic process. our witnesses today will help us to understand how russia deployed this deluge of disinformation in a broader attempt to undermine america's strength and leadership throughout the world. we simply must and we will get this right. the chairman and i agree it is vitally important that we do there as a credible bipartisan and transparent manner as possible. as was said yesterday in our press conference, chairman burr and i trust each other and equally important, we trust our colleagues on this committee that we are going to move together and we're going to get to the bottom of this and do it right. as this hearing begins, let's take just one moment to review what we already know.
russia's president vladimir putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election. first, russia struck at our political institutions by electronically breaking flow the headquarters of one of our political parties and stealing vast amounts of information. russian operatives also hacked e-mails to steal personal messages and other information from individuals ranging from clinton campaign manager john podesta to former secretary of state colon powell. this stolen information was then weapon uponized. we know that will russian intelligence used the, quote unquote, guccifer 2 persona and others like wikileaks in seemingly choreographed times that would cause maximum damaging to one candidate. they did this with an
unprecedented level of poe fistication about american presidential politics that should be a line of inquiry for us on this be committee and candidly while it helped one candidate had time, they are not favoring one party over another and consequently should be a concern for all of us. second, russia continually sought to diminish and undermine our trust in the american media. by blurring our faith in what is true and what is not. russian propaganda outlegs like rt and sputnik successfully produced and peddled disinformationing to american audiences in pursuit of moscow's preferred outcome. this russian propaganda on steroids was designed to poison the national conversation in america. the russians employed thousands of paid internet trolls and
botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at high volume focusing this material on to your twitter and facebook fees and flooding our social media with misinformation. this fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the american media echo chamber and our own social media networks to reach and potentially influence millions of americans. this is not innuendo or false allegations. this is not fake news. this is actually what happened to us. russia continues these sorts of actions as we speak. some of our close allies in europe are experiencing exactly the same kind of interference in their political process. germany has said that its parliament has been hacked. french presidential candidates
right now have been the subject of russian propaganda and disinformation. the netherlands, their recent elections, the dutch hand counted their ballots because they feared russian interference in their electoral process. perhaps most critically for us, there is nothing to stop them from doing this all over again in 2018 for those of you who are up or in 2020 as americans again go back to the polls. in addition to what we already know, any full accounting must also find out what if any contacts, communications, or connections occurred between russia and those associated with the campaigns themselves. i will not prejudge the outcome of our investigation. we are seeking to determine if there is an actual fire but there is clearly a lot of smoke. for instance, an individual
associated with the trump campaign accurately predicted the release of hacked e-mails weeks before it happened. this same individual also admits to being in contact with guccifer 2, it the russian intelligence persona, responsible for these cyber operations. the platform of one of our two major political parties mysteriously watered down in a way which appropriated the interests of president putin. and no one seems to be able to be identify who directed that change in the platform. a campaign manager of one campaign who played such a critical role in electing the president was forced to step down over his alleged ties to russia and its associates. since election, we've seen the president's national security adviser resign and his attorney general recuse himself over previously undisclosed contacts with the russian government.
and, of course, in the other body, on march 20th, the director of the fbi publicly acknowledged that the bureau was "investigating the nature of any links between individuals government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russian efforts, end of quote. i want to make clear, at least for me, this information is not about whether you have a "d" or an "r" next to your name. it's not about relitigating last fall's election. it is about clearly understanding and responding to this very real threat. it's also, i believe, about holding russia accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy. and it is about arming ourselves so we can identify and stop it when it happens again. trust me, it will happen again if we don't take action. i would hope that the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened.
i have to say editorially that the president's recent contact with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wiretapping and his inappropriate and unjustified attacks on america's hard working intelligence professionals does give me grave concern. this committee has a heavy weight of responsibility to prove that we can continue to put our political labels aside to get us to the truth. i believe we can get there. i've seen first-hand -- i say this to our audience -- how serious members on both sides of this dias have worked on this sense andtive critical issue. as the chairman and i have said repeatedly, the investigation will follow the facts where it leads us. many times i believe we're not going to get those facts and we're working together very cooperatively to make sure we get the facts we need from the intelligence community.
we will get that done. mr. chairman, i thank you for your commitment to the serious work and the bipartisan cooperation if not across the hill alive in this committee. thank you very much. >> i thank the vice chairman. members should note they will be recognized by seniority for five minute questions. we'll go as expeditiously as we can. let me introduce our witnesses today, if i may, and then we will hear from those witnesses. dr. rory godson, professor of georgetown university. dr. godson has specialized in security studies in international relations at georgetown university for more than four decades. thank you for that. as a scholar, he helped pioneer intelligence studies in american higher education. editing the seven volume series intelligence requirements for the 1980s, 1990s, and co-founding the consortium for study of intelligence.
he's directed, managed and published with other scholars and practitioners innovative studies on adapting american security paradigm, intelligence dominance consistent with the rule of law practices and strategies for preventing global organized crime. dr. godson has served as a consultant to the united states security council, president's foreign intelligence board and related agencies of the u.s. government. thank you for your service and thank you for being here. dr. rumor is a senior fellow and director of russian and eurasian programs at carnegie. endowment for international peace. prior to joining carnegie, dr. rumer served as the national intelligence officer for russia and eurasia at the u.s. national intelligence council from 2010 to 2014. earlier, he held research appointments at the national
defense university, the international institute for strategic studies and the rand corporation. he taught at georgetown university and george washington university and published widely. welcome, dr. rumer. clint watts is a robert fox fellow for the foreign policy research institute. and a senior fellow at the center for cyber and homeland security at george washington university. clint's a consultant and researcher, modeling and forecasting threat actor behavior and developing countermeasures for disrupting, defeating state and non-state actors. as a consultant clint designs and implements customized training and research programs for the military, intelligence, law enforcement organizations at the federal, state and local levels. clint served as a united states army infantry officer, an fbi agent on a joint terrorism task
force. as the executive officer of the combatting terrorism center at west point and as a consultant to the fbi's counterterrorism division and national security branch. clint, welcome, thank you for your service. with that, i will recognize our witnesses from my left to right. and dr. godson, you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman and vice chairman and members of the committee for invitdiing me to this hearing. i'd like to begin with a minute or two on the long history of soviet active measures and then talk a little bit about some of the major advantages the soviets and the russians have reaped from their history of using this instrument. finally, i'd like to come to what we've done in the past to reduce the effectiveness of
soviet behavior. and what we might want to consider for the future. i think if one looks at the history of the last 100 years, you're going to find that the russians and the soviet predecessors had believed that active measures is a major tool for their advancement. they actually believe -- whatever we think about it -- that this gives them the possibility of achieving influence well beyond their economic and social status and conditions in their country. i think when you look at what they say now, what they do now, and the way they talk and act and practice about these matters, they take this subject seriously. sometimes we in the united states have been aware of this.
but for many, many decades we did not take this subject seriously. and they were able to take enormous advantages. i think today that they basically believe they can use these techniques rather similarly to many of the ways they did this in the past. i do think that they are repeating many of the same practices that they did in the past. yes, there may be some new techniques that are being used now. in fact, there are. some of my colleagues on the panel this afternoon are more expert on those techniques. particularly the use of the internet and particularly cyber space. but we can sort of more or less be rest assured that the soviets will be looking at other techniques and will be seeking to adapt and make their active measures much more productive for them in the future.
yes, the activities in the united states that you're particularly interested in do seem to be exceptional. we don't have very many other examples of where they interer iffed with -- interfered with election machinery. what we do have are many examples of where the soviets working together were able with their allies abroad, their agents of influence abroad to actually affect the elections in many, many countries in the 20th and early 21st century. the soviets and their russian successors, they took the view and take the view that they are able to hit above their weight. they can fight above their weight if they take to use active measures. they don't want to go to war. neither of us wants to go to war. but they take the view that they can actually achieve a lot of what they want to do through
their active measures. that is the combination of overt and covert techniques and resources. overt and covert combined together in one pattern. and that they have the authority and the responsibility as leaders of the country to be able to do that. and they put this into practice. in the '20s and '30s, they created an enormous apparatus in the world. russia was a poor, weak country, and yet, russia in the '20s and '30s set up whole organizations overt and covert throughout the world. they were able to challenge all the major powers of europe and the united states. we may not have realized that these organizations were being set up. but they were considerable. and it took a lot of effort and skill on their part to do this.
in the war of -- second world war, they used this apparatus to be able to influence the politics of europe after the war. yes, they also used it during the war to help them and sometimes us in fighting the nazis and the italian fascists. but in their sort of major -- in a major way, they were also preparing for being able to influence the outcome of the struggle for the balance of power in europe during world war ii. so while they were an ally, they were also planning to undermine democratic and liberal parties, including in the united states at that time. in fact, they were able to take advantage of the fact that we were friendly and that we were working together. that uncle joe was a friend of the united states at that time. they thought. and they were able to use that very successfully.
and so, as a result, they were nearly able to take over the balance of power in the western europe. it was a closely run contest. and, of course, we're all glad that they lost. but it was a very closely run conflict, and we did emerge successfully from it. in the 1980s, they were on another roll. they used their apparatus, which built up in the '20s and '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s to be able to achieve a great deal in the late '70s and '80s. they nearly were able to split europe, split nato in europe in the 1980s. they started that in the last years of the carter administration and continued into the reagan years. and fortunately, we noticed this
in time and our re-armament of nato went ahead and it wasn't because the soviets wanted it but because we were able to out maneuver them. the '90s were sort of chaotic there. so it was their active measure apparatus wasn't effective and didn't have the kind of leadership it had had before. and the kind of leadership it's gained since vladmir putin came to power. it's maybe a little bit too soon to do an assessment of their effectiveness. so far as was pointed out earlier, by the chairman and the vice chairman, we do think they were effective in an important way to us, and we understand that the committee is going to be looking into this and studying this. but in any event, they have this apparatus. they have modernized it. they were spending billions of dollars a year before.
they have maybe 10,000 to 15,000 people in this apparatus at least worldwide in addition to the trolls and other kinds of cyber capabilities they have. but soviets are not -- >> dr. godson, i'm going to interrupt you for just a second just to make members aware that the second vote has started. and it's our intent to work through these -- this second vote. so i'd ask members, as they feel comfortable to leave for the vote, come right back if you will. as soon as we get through the panel we'll start questions. dr. godson, i would just ask you to summarize as quickly as you can -- >> how long is a round so that -- >> five minute recognitions. >> okay. >> well, they're not ten feet tall. they have used their capabilities effectively, but they don't always win out. the united states for the first time responded in a major way to
them in the late 1940s through the 1960s. we did, in fact, cauterize their active measures apparatus. and they were not able to successfully use this in western europe and other parts of the world. we did some things pretty well from the '40s to the '60s. unfortunately, in the '60s, there was a -- the coalition between liberals and conservatives, the consensus between the congress and the administration, started to fall apart. and then with the criticisms that the intelligence community had to take in that time, our countermeasures started to fall apart. we were sort of disarming ourselves, if i can say that, so from the '60s through the late 1970s, we did not have a very effective counteractive measures capability.
and the russians, of course, took advantage of that in numerous places of the world. in the '80s, though, that changed. late '70s, '80s it changed and we did start to do things well again. i'll just summarize the fact that we start today develop a strategic approach to countermeasures. wasn't a bit here, a bit there and so on. it was actually a strategic approach with warning and anticipation of active measures. we actually would actually study them so well that we were able to often anticipate what they were going to do with active measures. therefore, we could then use other measures to limit them. and avoid the effectiveness of these active measures. we also started to support liberal elements abroad that we thought would be helpful to us in preventing soviet active measures from furthering soviet objectives in those societies.
we were fairly successful in the '80s in doing this. and in both using overt and covert methods to do this. as in sort of other victories we've had after world war i and ii, after the cold war, we thought that this wasn't such an important thing to be doing anymore. so our activities waned. they didn't stop but they waned. we had units that remained in the government that were concerned with this, but on the whole the government actually disarmed itself. and so, although there were some in the government and outside the government who warned about the soviet use of active measures, and i do know when looking over the website of your committee that some of the people in this room actually went to the government and asked the government to be more mindful of soviet active
measures starting in 2016 and presumably that should be mindful of it afterwards. unfortunately, the government did not take the warnings as seriously as it could have. and made this known to the public in a useful fashion so we would not be so surprised when this took place in the -- or appears to have taken place in 2016. but the soviets could not have done this and the russians cannot have done this without having an active measures apparatus. it's visible. one can find it. can't find everything about it, but we have -- historically we know that we can find it. we can anticipate it. and we can take a number of measures. so i hope you will have time to consider maybe in the questions some of the measures we could now take to do that. thank you. >> thank you.
dr. rumer. >> chairman burr, vice chairman warner, distinguished members of the committee. i'm honored to be here today. russian active measures and interference in our presidential campaign is one of the most contentious issues in our national conversation. i believe that russian intelligence services and their proxies intervened in our election in 2016. i have not seen the classified evidence behind the intelligence community assessment published a few weeks ago. some have criticized it for not sharing the evidence of russian intrusions. they missed the mark. it's the totality of russian efforts in plain sight to mislead, to misinform, to exaggerate, that is more convincing than any cyber evidence. rt, today broadcast internet
trolls, fake news and so on are an integral part of russian foreign policy today. we need to put this in the context of the quarter century since the end of the cold war. world war ii in europe or the great patriotic war as russians call it is integral to the formative experience of every living russian. the country's national narrative is impossible without it. in 1941, hitler's armies were stopped just outside the gates of moscow. in 1945, stalin's armies entered berlin. that was russia's greatest generation. generations of russians since then have been taught that their country was at its most secure then because it was protected by a buffer, the warsaw pact and the soviet empire. in 1991, russians lost that buffer. the legacy of their greatest generation. with their country falling apart, russian leaders had no choice but to accept this loss. for as long as russia would remain weak.
the '90s were a terrible decade for russia but a great decade for the west. for russian leaders and many regular russians, the dominance of the west came at the expense of russia's loss in the cold war. russia would not remain weak indefinitely. its economic recovery led to a return doing much more assertive posture, aggressive posture, some would say, on the world stage. we saw it in the crushing of georgia in 2008. in the annexation of crimea in 2014. and we see it to the present day in the ongoing war in eastern ukraine. for the west, russia's return to the world stage has been nothing more than pure advantage. revengism. for russia it's restoring some balance with their relationship with the west. the narrative of restoring the balance, correcting the injustice and the distortions of the 1990s has been the
essential -- absolutely essential to the russian propaganda since the beginning of the putin era. those russians who disagree are branded as foreign agents and enemies of the people. russia's capabilities should not be overestimated. its gdp is about $1.3 trillion versus u.s. gdp $18 trillion. that's a little more than president trump's proposed increase in u.s. defense spending for fy-2018. the russian military is stronger than its smaller and weaker neighbors. yet the balance does not favor russia when compared to nato. a nato/russia war would be an act of mutual suicide and the kremlin is not ready for it. russian leaders have embraced a different tool kit. information warfare, intimidation, espionage, economic tools and so on. this toolkit is meant to make up for russia's conventional shortcomings, vis-a-vis the west.
the kremlin has a number of advantages here. the circle of deciders is limited to a handful of putin associates with similar world views. they have considerable resources at their disposal, especially since most of their tools are quite cheap. handful of cyber criminals cost a lot less than an armored brigade but can do a lot of damage. russian meddling in our presidential election is most likely viewed by the kremlin as an unqualified success. that payoffs include, one, a major distraction for the united states. damage to u.s. leadership in the world. and, perhaps most importantly, the demonstration effect. the kremlin can do this to the world's sole remaining global superpower, imagine how other countries see it. the difference is between russia and the united states are profound and will not be resolved soon. this is not a crisis, not something that will pass soon. it's the new normal. we will see russia relying on
this toolkit in the months and years to come. in the upcoming elections in france and in germany this year and our own future political campaigns. deception and active measures have long been and will remain a staple of russia dealings with the outside world for the foreseeable future. thank you. >> dr. rumer, thank you. mr. watts. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today. in april 2014, andrew wiseberg and i noticed a petition on the white house website. alaska back to rodriguez appeared as a campaign. petitions appearing on the white house website are not out of the norm. but this petition was different having gained more than 39,000 online signatures in a short period. our examination of those signing on the petition revealed an odd pattern. the accounts varied considerably and appeared to be the work of
bots. a closer look at the bots tied in closely with other social media campaigns we had observed pushing russian propaganda months before. hackers proliferated the networks and could be spotted amongst data breach and website defacements. closely circling them were honey pot accounts. attractive looking women, political partisans, they were trying to social engineer other users. above all we observed hecklers, those synchronized trolling accounts you see on twitter that would attack targets using similar talking points. those accounts, some of which overted supported the kremlin, promoted russian foreign policy positions targeting english speaking audiences. soviet tactics have been reborn and updated for the modern russian regime. in the digital age. today, russia hopes to win the second cold war through the force of politics as opposed to the politics of force. while russia certainly seeks to promote western candidates sympathetic to their world view, and foreign policy objectives, winning a single election is not their end goal. russian active measures hope to topple democracies through the pursuits of five objectives.
one, undermine citizen confidence in democratic governance. two, foment divisive political fizz yours. three, erode trust between citizens and elected officials and institutions. four, popularize russian agendas and create confusion by blurring the lines between fact and fiction. very pertinent issue today in our country. from these objectives the kremlin can crumble democracies from the inside out, achieving two key milestones. one, the dissolution of the european union. and two, the break-up of nato. this will allow russia to reassert its power globally and pursue its lines through my tear, democratic and economic aggression. in late 2014 and '15, we watched it on any u.s. audience, whether it be claims of the u.s. military declaring law or the
standoff at the bundy ranch, russia state-sponsored news characterized as white outlets churned out manipulated truths, false news stories and conspiracies. political messages designed to tarnish democratic leaders and institutions. two, financial propaganda created to weaken confidence and financial markets and capitalist economies. three, social unrest crafted to amplify divisions. and four, global calamity such as nuclear war or catastrophic climate change. from these overt russian propaganda outlets a wide range of english speaking websites which we refer to as gray outlets some of which mysteriously operate from eastern europe, sensationalize these conspiracy theories. published by white outlets.
american looking social media accounts, the hecklers, honey pots and others i described earlier working alongside automated bots amplify the russian propaganda. through the end of 2015, and start of 2016, the russian influence system began pushing themes and messages seeking to influence the outcome of the u.s. presidential election. russia's overt media outlets and covert trolls sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with views towards the kremlin. they were in full swing during both the republican and democratic primary season and may have helped to sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to russia. senator rubio, in my opinion, you suffered through these efforts. the final piece, has materials were strategically leaked. the disclosures of wikileaks. russia built so successfully in the previous two years.
as an example on the evening of 30 july 2016, my colleagues and i watched as rt and sputnik news launched false stories of the u.s. air base in turkey being overrun by terrorists and within minutes automated bots amplified the false news story. more than 4,000 tweets in 78 minutes after launching this false story linked back to the active measures accounts we tracked in the previous two years. these previously identitied accounts from different locations and communities amplified the story in unison. the hash tags pushed by the accounts were nuclear, media, trump, benghazi. the most common words found in english speaking twitter user, god, family, country, conservative, christian, america and constitution. these accounts and messages sought to convince americans u.s. military base overrun in a
terrorist attack. in reality, a small protest outside the gate and the increased security at the air base to secure the arrival of the of the joint chiefs. many pushed the story focus on the elections in europe of fears of immigration or false claims of refugee criminality. they have not forgotten about the u.s., either. this past week we observed social media accounts discrediting speaker of the house paul ryan hoping to foment unrest inside u.s. democratic institutions. the implications will be two fold. the first is what the world is witnessing today, a russian challenge to democracies in the west but more importantly over the horizon, russia's provided dictator or elite equipped with hackers and civil liberties a playbook to dismantle the enemies. the u.s. and failing to respond to active measures will surrender the position in the world's leader forego the role as chief promoter of democracy and give up on over 70 years of collective action to preserve
freedom and civil liberties around the world. russ's motto for america and the west is divided they stand and divided they will fall. it's time the united states reminds the world that despite the day-to-day policy debates, political squabbles, we stand united alongside our allies in defending the democratic system of government from the meddling of power hungry tyrants and repressive awe thoirns that prey on the people and suppress humanity. i'll close here with the opening remarks but i have many recommendations which are in the written testimony. mr. chairman, i ask my full written statement including the recommendations submitted to the record and i hope that during the question and answer session we can further discuss how to -- thank you for inviting me. >> thank you for your testimony and all written testimony will be included as part of the record. the chair and the vice chairman are going to exit and vote. i'm going to recognize senator risch for his questions and in our absence he'll lob back and
forth based upon seniority. senator risch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, it always impresses me the fact we hear people talking about russian policy and what they want, first of all, how uniform it is. everybody seems to agree on where they're going, what they do and what they're doing to get there. but after processing that over a long period of time, one's got to come to the thought process of what happens in a post putin russia. because everyone -- everyone's got a shelf life. and his is -- his has been extended, it looks to me, well beyond what normally would happen under these circumstances. so give me your thoughts, briefly, each of you, if you would, as to what happens. do they stand the same track they're on, or do they come to the realization that there's bigger and better things in life
to pursue than what they're doing right now? mr. godson? >> well, thank you for the question. as you know, a lot of variables here at work. one would be what we -- how we respond to putin and the behavior of the apparatus that they have. do we let them continue to do this, or do we start to develop some sort of a strategic response to them? that would be one of the variables. do they find that they can get away with, use active measures as they have in the past? and if so, then the elite that has taken power in russia would be inclined to continue. they found that even when they sometimes have not been as
effective as they expected that active measure still is a -- a capability that enables them to use the example of being able to fight above their economic and political capabilities. so unless there was a dramatic change in the regime, there's little reason to believe that they would cease active measures, policy and strategy they have, barring that we don't actually cauterize it and limit its effects. eiveness. if we don't, then they'll have an incentive to continue. >> dr. gore? >> thank you, sir. well, mr. putin, i believe, is 62. a man in his prime. he's positioned to run in 2018 again for another term. so i think what we see today is going to be with us for a long time. by the looks of it, for the next
two presidential terms in this country. so we should base our policy accordingly. i think it would be incorrect and counter productive to tar all russians with the same brush. but there is something there in russian traditional security perceptions that transcends party lines, that transcend regimes and russian perceptions of security don't really change that much over time. so i think we should be thinking about the drivers of russian foreign and security policy in terms of continuity rather than radical change. after all, we already saw radical change in 1991 and things in the end really didn't change that much. and as long as, you know, russians -- russian elites will see themselves as -- as long as they see themselves as being
inferior and struggling against a more advanced and a more powerful western alliance, they will be relying on all tools in their toolkit. and information warfare -- disinformation warfare will be part of it. we may hope that if some day someone like the corruption fighter rises to the leadership of the country, having been a victim of information, he may be more restrained in it. but i would say that the basic parameters of russian policy are generally set in place. >> thank you, doctor. i've only got a short time left. i want to hear from mr. watts. >> yes. regarding mr. putin, i would look to these two gentlemen primarily. but my thoughts are, one, he's not going away any time soon. two, he will definitely shape some sort of a successor in his place to continue on with what he's doing right now. i think the third big thing that we can't discount is the connection with criminality.
there is -- between these elites and their sort of predatory capitalist practices, what we see in cyberspace with cyber crime and how they have used hackers very well as part of their active measures, we can't discount that we'll see a predatory elite emerge that will be something we have to deal with. and i think the fourth thing, which goes to the first point, is i'm not sure what our policy or stance is with regards to russia at this point in the united states. i think that's the number one thing we have to figure out because that will shape how they interface with us. having watched the end of the soviet union as a cadet at west point and then fast forwarding to today, i'm a little bit lost as to what our u.s. interests are, or how they're coalescing. i know what i would recommend. but i think that will have a major impact on how we will be able to interface and maybe i see opportunity in putin's departure. >> thank you, mr. watts. senator feinstein. >> oh, thank you, senator risch.
gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. and thank you for your testimony. i'm sorry i was out to vote while i missed some of it. i've been on this committee for 16 years. and the intelligence community report, which is the report of all of our major intelligence agencies, which was released on january the 6th, is among the strongest i've read. it covers the motivation and the scope of russia's actions regarding our elections, as well as the cyber tools and the media campaigns they use to influence public opinion. the report makes a key judgment and here it is. russian president vladimir putin ordered an influenced campaign in 2016, aimed at the united states presidential election. the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the united states democratic process, denigrate secretary
clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. it further assesses that -- and these are quotes -- putin and the russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. here's two questions. do you believe the intelligence community assessment accurately characterized the goals of russian influence activities in the election? and i would like to go down the line with a yes or no answer. if you want to explain it, that would be fine. who would like to go first? >> well, thank you for that difficult question. the -- i personally don't sort of find myself at odds with the ica study that you -- that you identified.
however, the statement that this was developed in 2016 needs to be parsed a bit. the russians could not do this if they started in 2016. they wouldn't have had the capability. and the active measures world one can want to do many things. but one has to have the means to do this -- >> when would you estimate it was started, by your statement? >> well, it's not i have a specific date. but that one needs to have an infrastructure abroad to be able to do this. now, you can use some of the infrastructure in your own country, especially with cyber capabilities. >> which they had. >> which they had. but active measures usually involves people as well as machines. and it would be extraordinary
if they hadn't prepared a lot of the ground to be able to do this. not only in the united states, but in other countries, as well. it's -- they have this apparatus and this apparatus is well-staffed, well-trained. the training of the people who work in this apparatus is quite surprising to us. it's -- we have known about it, but we don't really sort of take it very seriously. it's not three months or six months training or years training. they have much longer training periods, and they are -- some of them are pretty good. not ten feet tall, of course, but pretty good. >> okay. i got the point. next person? >> yes. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> yes. and i can give you the timeline of their development, if you would like it. >> please. >> we have accounts dating back to 2009 that are tied to active measures. 2014 was their capability development based on my assessment where they started working on their influence campaigns. 2015 was when they tied hacking and influence together for the first time, specifically during the dnc breaches.
i was notified in november of 2015 that i had been targeted by a cyberattack. 2016 was the push into the u.s. audience landscape to build audience. august 2016 was when i witnessed them pushing towards the election. and that was in full -- or august of 2015, all the way through 2016. so one-year buildup to the election. >> thank you. has russia ever -- i think i know the answer to this, but if you would elaborate on it, conducted other similar campaigns in other countries to this level of impact with the goal of tilting the playing field to increase one candidate's chance of winning? mr. watts, if you would go first. >> yes. i believe you would need to look back at 2014 in both ukraine and another eastern european country that's escaping me.
in 2015, '16, the brexit campaign should be examined. i can't prove it one way or another. and today all the european elections that they're choosing to meddle in. france, germany, netherlands, czech republic. >> thank you. would you like to respond? >> yes. they have conducted such campaigns in ukraine in 2004 and 2014. in georgia. they have intervened heavily in domestic political campaigns in the baltic states, so there are ample examples of that. >> thank you. would you please respond, doctor? >> yes, they have a history of doing this well before this, and they find it a successful use of their resources. so it is not surprising. >> thank you, doctor. thank you, senator feinstein. senator rubio. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. i'm concerned that in our inquiry, and i certainly think it's important for us to know what happened, we are focusing so much on the tactics that we're not focusing on the broader strategy that's at play here. i want to briefly go through a number of instances and have the
panel comment on whether or not they believe these are indicative of the efforts being targeted against the united states and the rest of the world by vladimir putin. we all know that angela merkel has taken a tough line on ukraine against russia. we know that there is a lot of controversy in germany around migrants. in early 2016, a 13-year-old known only as lisa f, a dual german-russian citizen whose family had moved to germany from russia in 2004 told police she had been kidnapped in east berlin by what appeared to be middle eastern migrants and raped for over 30 hours. there was outrage in germany and obviously protests against merkel. the russian foreign minister almost immediately jumped on the story talking about the need to defend our lisa, quote/unquote. and the story was spread far and wide by russian speaking entities and russian media outlets. subsequently, the prosecutors in berlin announced that they had clear evidence that during those 30 hours, she was missing, lisa f was actually, in fact, with people she knew, and a medical examination showed that she had not been the victim of rape.
earlier this year, a little-known news outlet published on a website an article that claimed that the united states was deploying 3,600 tanks to eastern europe to prepare for war with russia. 3,600 tanks would represent about 40% of our entire tank force. within days, the story was republished by dozens of outlets in the united states and throughout europe. as it turns out, the truth is we deployed 87 tanks. there is in -- going all the way back to september 11th of 2015, residents in louisiana awoke to a message, many of them did, on their twitter feed, that said toxic fume hazard warning in this area until 1:30 p.m., take shelter, check local media and columbia chemical.com. on twitter accounts, there were hundreds of accounts documenting a disaster right down the road from the people. one account said a powerful explosion heard from miles away happened at a chemical plant in centerville, louisiana.
a man named john merritt tweeted. anna rusela shared an image of flames engulfing the plant. a video posted of surveillance footage from a local gas station capturing the explosion. another twitter account posted a screen shot of cnn's homepage showing the story had already made national news, claiming that isis had claimed credit for the attack, according to one youtube video. a woman named @zopak 9 -- anna mclaren is her name, i guess. tweeted karl rove. karl, is this really isis responsible for the hash tag colombian chemicals? tell obama we should bomb iraq. had anyone taken the trouble to check cnn as this article outlines in "new york times," there was no such attack. it was a hoax. not some simple prank, as the article goes on to say, but a highly coordinated disinformation campaign involving dozens of fake accounts that posted hundreds of tweets for hours targeting a list of figures precisely chosen to generate maximum attention. the perpetrators didn't just
doctor screen shots from cnn and i'm reading from the "new york times" article. they also created functional clones of the websites of the louisiana tv stations and the like. the list goes on and on and we should document to the american people. a false story spreading claiming that germany's oldest church was burnt down by a thousand muslims. chanting allah akbar. another story claiming the european union was planning to ban snowmen as racist. all of this and on and on. and we should begin to document them for the american people. isn't this the larger problem? let me just rephrase that. aren't we in the midst of a blitzkrieg, for lack of a better term, of informational warfare conducted by russian trolls under the command of vladimir putin designed to sew instability, pit us against each other as americans? the same article -- i don't have enough time. it goes on. they posted false stories of a police shooting in atlanta that never happened. about a series of things. in essence, are we in danger here because we are focused on a very important tactical move
that happened in the election of 2016 to miss the broader point, and that is that this is a coordinated effort across multiple spectrums to sow instability and to pit americans against each other, plitedly, social, economically, demographically and the like? >> so i think the two lines of effort you brought up there, that the russians use are social dynamics that they play on, ethnic divisions, and global calamity or inciting fear. these two lines haven't been discussed much. the third one is financial. they oftentimes put out fake stories about u.s. companies, which then cause stock dips. which allow all sorts of predatory trading and other things to happen. what's -- we have focused on disinformation around the political scene. but misinformation across the board, particularly from the russia propaganda networks, has incited fear inside the united states on multiple occasions, as you noted.
one last year was there was jfk terminal shut down about alleged gunshots. we watched social media trolls er and gray outlets pump fake stories out which ramped up that fear which caused mass panic. so they have created the ability by gaining audience in the united states to steer americans, unwittingly, and many different directions, that can cause all sorts of danger and even violence in certain cases. i think that pizzagate scandal we saw last fall is another such example of misinformation. maybe not attributed to russia. but we have a problem writ large right now with our information sources. >> senator rubio -- >> no. >> i think you hit the nail on the head. i don't really have a lot to add to it. we are faced with a strategic attack. it's not a kinetic attack usually. it's a political attack. and then the question comes, what sort of strategic response are we going to be able to
develop to that? we could elaborate on that. >> senator warner. >> again, thank all the witnesses for their testimony. dr. rumer, i'm going to start with you. we have heard a lot recently about the role of the head of russia's largest aluminum company and the role he may have played in helping to support the goals of president putin. can you characterize the role in this area, and then more broadly, are there any of the oligarchs in russia, at least those not in exile, that aren't somehow caught up in the kremlin's foreign policy activities? or are there any truly independent? >> thank you, senator warner. i can't add anything to the
conversation beyond what's in the public domain. so i don't think i have any special insights here. and, you know, i feed off the same reporting that's appeared in the papers. i would be careful to describe all russian oligarchs and oligarch itself as a fairly ill defined term. there is sort of a handful of some of the prominent ones, but it's a much bigger class of major russian businessmen. i would be reluctant to describe them all as, you know, tools of the kremlin, obviously. russian businessmen who would do business in russia have to be mindful of kremlin political preferences and the kremlin has considerable influence over them. but i don't have -- i can't speak from concrete information
about them being -- you know, directly instruments of the kremlin foreign policy. that that's not something that i have evidence to back up. so i think i'll -- i'll stop at that. >> okay. mr. watts, one of the things in your testimony -- i've been talking a lot about the use of the internet trolls and their ability to then exponentially gain more power through creating these botnets. i would love you to kind of comment about what we can do to preclude that on a -- on a going forward basis, and perhaps you can explain this technique better than i have in my various public statements. >> sure. the first thing that i think we need to understand is it's not all automated, and it's not all human. there is a combination of the two. so you have a series of humans
that work in their psychological warfare groups that command both bots at the same time. and i like to -- as an analogy, you can look at it like artillery. so you have someone engaging with you as individual, and at the same time, they can launch a bot to amplify that story forward. when we -- >> obviously, the bot for those -- ability for a computer to take over other computers that are not being used and in effect magnify the number of hits they might hit to a particular social media site, correct? >> exactly. and you can create more personas in twitter, for example, which makes it look like there are more people than there really are. it's a strategy, essentially, that amplifies your appearance. so what they do is, they launch those simultaneously as they begin the engagement or push of false news stories. usually from rt and sputnik news. they do that in unison, which games the social media system, such that such a high volume of content being pushed at the same time raises that into the trends that you'll see, if you looked at facebook or twitter or
whatever it might be. you see the top ten stories that are out right now. it pushes that up there. as soon as it pushes that into that top ten feed, mainstream media outlets then are watching that and they start to examine that content. so, for example, the attack i talked about, one of the key hash tags they pushed is media. the goal is to get that in the top of twitter stream so mainstream media has to respond to that story. when mainstream media responds to it or just looks at it without commenting on it, it takes over organically and you'll see it move over the internet like a virus. >> one thing, i'm going to spend a lot of time on in this afternoon. there have been reports that their ability to target this information, some reports at least saying that in the last week of the campaign in certain precincts in wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, there was so much misinformation coming, talking about hillary clinton's illnesses or hillary clinton stealing money from the
state department or -- that completely blanked out any of the back and forth that was actually going on in the campaign. one of the things that seems curious, was would the russians on their own, have that level of sophisticated knowledge about the american political system if they didn't at least get some advice from someone in america? >> yes. i know this from working on influence campaigns in the counterterrorism context. if you do appropriate target audience analysis on social media, you can actually identify an audience in a foreign country or in the united states, parse out all of their preferences. part of the reason those bios had conservative christian, you know, america all those terms in it, those are the most common ones. if you inhale all of the accounts of the people in wisconsin, you identify the most common terms in it, you just recreate accounts that look exactly like people from wisconsin. so that way whenever you're trying to socially engineer them and convince them that the information is true, it's much more simple because you see somebody and they look exactly
like you. even down to the pictures. when you look at the pictures, it looks like an american from the midwest or the south or wisconsin or whatever the location is. and they will change those. they can reprogram them. where they tend to show their hand is, the problem is once they build an audience, they don't want to get rid of it. so you'll see them build an audience of trying to influence one segment, let's say of the english-speaking media. and then they will reprogram it to try and influence a different story. it's the same problem any cable news outlet will have. once you build an audience and you change your content to some other topic, you still want to keep your old audience, otherwise you can't gain any traction. >> and again, my time is up, but i want to know, this was used in 2016 towards one candidate. but obviously, russia's interests are russia's interests. >> it's used right now against people on both sides of the aisle. we' watch them play both sides. they might go after a republican person in this room tomorrow and then they'll switch. it's solely based on what they want to achieve in their own
landscape. whatever the russian foreign policy objectives are. so if they want to achieve one candidate, but let's say president trump, for example, wins and now turns against, they will turn on president trump, as well. they'll play -- they win because they play both sides. and the audience will go with them once they have them. >> i do know that the vice chairman hates russia, just to make that public. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. godson, you make the point that the russians don't always win with their active measures, and you mentioned the period of the 1940s and the 1950s. in your judgment, how successful have the russians been in the last year in achieving their goal of sowing doubt, polarization, trying to disrupt
and cast out on the validity of the election, putting aside the issue for the moment of the critical question of whether there was any collusion between any campaign and the russian effort? >> well, from the information that we have in the public sector and the private sector, i would say that they must be rather pleased with the results of their investment. whatever date they started to develop this campaign. i think, though, however, they -- and the fact is that they are seeming to prepare to do the same thing in other campaigns abroad. and so, sort of looking at the way they have behaved over the long course of time that they have used active measures, i
think they will continue to do this and to reap some benefits from it unless there is a considerable response from the democratic societies. and at the moment, i would say that our response is too restrained and that unless they see that there is a cost to this that makes this not a very attractive thing to do, i don't see why they won't continue it. i hope that's responsive. >> thank you. dr. rumer, mr. watts made the point that the russians will go after either side. that they're trying to disrupt society, cast doubt on western democracies. and one largely overlooked part of the intelligence
committee's or the intelligence community's report last fall was information in the annex that suggested that russia today, which most people view as an organ of the russian government, was instrumental in trying to advance the protests of occupy wall street. could you comment on that? and is that an example of russia working to promote the far left versus the far right that we hear so much about? >> yes, ma'am. it's a perfect example in that occupy wall street was a genuine movement on the left. but it certainly serves the interests of russian propaganda to blade up as a major challenge as something representing a
major fault line in our society. because, you know, it drives the message that the united states is in decline. the united states is in crisis. plays up to audiences at home in russia and abroad. . it deserves the ascensittenf the spotlight that you cast on it. there is another example of a protest and it is blown out of proportions. the best propaganda has a greater truth to it and it gets played up and aup.
>> thank you mr. chairman. >> gentleman, here is where we are now. the american people are worried of what's ahead with regards to russia. the public now gets most of its information from leaks, from daily press zor aristories and apparently of inaccurate tweets from americans. this causes americans to question the legislatitimacy of government. that's why it is so important that we have hearing at the intelligence kmi intelligence committee and fbi and homeland security and treasure. i believe a key to a successful investigation is following the money. yesterday i wrote a letter the committee looking in any and all financial relationship between russia and donald trump and his associates. i am also taking this issue on as a ranking member of the
financi financi financial. this review includes the trump organization and its partnerships. senate investigators should look into any violations of the foreign corruption practices acts which ensures that bribes are not being paid over seas. >> other programs and investigations may uncover suspicious financial activities by donald trump and his associates. it is already a matter of public record that sedonald trump and associates of his have been the subject of millions of times for long standing violations of anti-money laundering loss. information about donald trump's finance, his family and his associates may lead to russia. we know that in 2008 the
president son's says russians made a disproportionate crossed section of a lot of our assets. since then, we got mostly smoken murders. committee needs to follow the money where ever it leads. money laundering and corruptions and any kind of deas of deals po criminals. now, my question, there is an extraordinary history of money laundering in russia. billions of dollars from corruption and other illegal activities have been moved out of the country. what that means is that russia's corruption problem may also be our corruption problem. here is my question on the three
of you, on experts on russia. i would like you three to tell us about corruption in russia so as to help us follow the money in our investigation and here is my specific question. i am going to start with you mr. watts. how can the committee track this fuzzy line between the russians, russi russians' organized crimes and the russian government. >> senator, i would start off, i am not the for most russian expert. i came through this through the islamic state isis, i am counter terrorism for the most part and came to active measures and mostly because active measures came to me. the second part i would add to this is there is a money trail to be searched. we focus heavily on elites.
what are elite people are doing. this has both virtual component that's happening. i would say and what i cannot see and what i would like to know is what is happening in eastern europe. there is a disproportion number out in russia. >> that's my one guess, my hypothesis working in the intelligence field that there is some sort of russian intel assets forming them one way or another through some sorts of schemes. the other part is follow the trail of dead russians. there is been more dead russians in the past three months that are tied with this investigation who have assets and banks all over the world. they are dropping dead in western countries. we have seen arrests in spain,
different computer security companies that are based in russia providing services to the united states. these are all huge openings to understand how they are funded in the russian government. i don't have the capabilities from where i said. i think it is a huge angle. on the influence side, we can see it. the one thing that's misconstrue that it is covert. you cannot influence and be covert. you have to show your hand and that's why we have been able to discover it online. the missing part is how did they conduct this influence. there are news papers and media outlets. that's where i dig in financial space. >> i am almost out of time. doctor rumer, same thing.
before i get to any events today. there are a few items that i want to update you on. the president spoke with the prime minister of iraq to thank him for his meeting on march 20th. he was weed out of that call. yesterday he also identified congress that a national emergency declared executive order 13694 of the attack continues on april 2017. as you know this notification is required by statues in order to extend the national emergency the past administration declared. the president believes that this cyber enable activities continue to post a threat on our national security and economic and prosperi prosperity. he determined it is necessary to continue this. >> last night a federal judge hawaii put a hold on the
president. >> this ruling is just the latest step that will allow the administration to appeal. just a week ago, the u.s. district court and virginia up hell the president on merits. >> this morning we announce that had the president will host president xi of china at margot. the president is looking forward to meet president xi. they'll discuss the issues of mutual concerns including north korea and trades and regional security. this morning, the president had a meeting with the treasury of secretary. experts have been meeting with
and hearing from state holders on all side of tax reform debate. tax reform is the certanter pie of the president from his campaign. the team will provide significant tax relief to make american businesses mo more competitive. the first significant tax reform since in 1980s it is going to be a series of under taking. we are the first age of this process, constituents around the country and business leaders and other stake hote holders. accordinginglly a lot of peoplee many ideas about it and we intend to hear about them. he and his team will meet and commit in delivering results to the american business that people will see and feel in their paychecks. the