#RussiaFail · Information Warfare · Russia

Russian Media Chief Dismisses U.S. Report on Propaganda Efforts

MOSCOW—The head of the Kremlin-financed news channel RT dismissed an American intelligence assessment released Friday on the country’s alleged role in influencing the U.S. presidential election, calling it “the comedy hit of the year.”

Top U.S. intelligence officials last week broadened their accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, detailing why the intelligence community believes Russia carried out cyberattacks to undermine the electoral process, and a declassified intelligence assessment released to the public said Kremlin-funded television aimed to “influence politics” and “fuel discontent” among the U.S. electorate.

The report said RT, the network formerly known as Russia Today, along with Russian state news outlet Sputnik, consistently reported positively on President-elect Donald Trump and negatively on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of RT, repudiated the report in a blog post, saying: “Dear CIA: what you have here is a complete fail.”

But the Kremlin has remained silent on the matter as Moscow awaits Mr. Trump’s inauguration. U.S. intelligence agencies allege the Kremlin favored Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton in the November election.

While the U.S. intelligence community’s report alleged Kremlin-ordered cyberattacks against both the Democratic and Republican National Committees, it concluded that the leaks of purloined information appeared to have targeted Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. The report also centered on what was described as misleading and biased news with the explicit aim to help Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has pushed back against the notion that Russia may have helped him win.

The intelligence report was shared with President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump last week. A declassified version was later released to the public.

The president-elect’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, told Fox News Sunday that Mr. Trump accepted that Russia had a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

The report has heightened awareness of allegations that Russia tried to influence U.S. elections but the intelligence community’s refusal to disclose to the public its sources and methods has led to criticism for not providing what is seen as watertight proof that Russia was behind the hacking efforts.

Alexei Pushkov, a member of the committee on information policy in Russia’s upper house of parliament, took aim at the record of the U.S. intelligence community, pointing to 2003 allegations that then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that led to the U.S. invasion.

Accusations against Russia, he suggested, were being concocted to turn Mr. Trump against Russia.

“The new accusations against Russia that they carried out hacking attacks … are aimed at a change of leadership in the USA,” Mr. Pushkov said Sunday.

Write to Thomas Grove at thomas.grove@wsj.com

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-media-chief-dismisses-u-s-report-on-propaganda-efforts-1483909820