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America Will Always Lose Russia’s Tit-for-Tat Spy Games

Еще немного “шпионских” страстей.

A recent BuzzFeed article outlined behind-the-scenes efforts by Russian and American diplomats to end the tit-for-tat expulsion of embassy personnel between the two sides. Reports say American officials are reacting positively to Moscow’s signals to end the feud and are looking to “turn the page” and improve relations.

While nobody should be against efforts to improve relations, let’s not fool ourselves as to who came out ahead in this contest. “Ending the feud” is exactly what the Russians want — because they won. The United States lost far more from the expulsions than Russia, and, worse, it acceded to a long-sought-after and long-rejected Russian demand that all interactions conform to the practice of parity. In fact, there’s a pattern that I observed during my years in the CIA: In 2016 — as in 2001, 1994, and 1986 — the United States tried to punish Russia but mishandled the effort, eventually cried uncle, and left Russia in a better position than when it started.

Let’s recap the most recent effort to “punish” Russia.

As we now know, Russia utilized a multipronged attack to destabilize our democratic system and damage our leadership abroad during the 2016 presidential election. We are learning more every day about the scale and audaciousness of the trespass, and it continues to disrupt our political process. Denis McDonough, former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, characterized the effort as an attack on the “heart of our system.” Some observers have even called it the “crime of the century,” and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner described his efforts to uncover the attack as “very well … the most important thing I do in my public life.”

What consequences did the Kremlin face for its brazen assault on our system?

Following a flurry of expulsions, both sides have settled on a position as outlined in an Aug. 31 State Department statement, titled “Achieving Parity in Diplomatic Missions,” that seeks to lock in the status quo and focus on efforts to improve relations.

Our mission in Moscow housed almost 1,800 people in 2006 but now has only 455. President Barack Obama cut Russia’s missions in the United States from 490 to 455. Since Russia refuses to hire Americans to work in its diplomatic facilities, the most powerful country in the world has fewer Americans in Russia than Russia has diplomats in the United States. Russia also maintains more diplomatic missions in the United States. Further, Russia finally achieved a long-sought demand that the two sides treat all interactions through the prism of reciprocity. All previous U.S. administrations have rejected this effort as part of Russia’s effort to force the United States and other interlocutors to accept a world of coequal spheres of influence.

That is, we lost.
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The C.I.A.’s Fake News Campaign

Статья из газеты, которая сама вложила огромный вклад в распространение “фейковых” новостей.

Russia’s crafty campaign to hack the 2016 election may seem unprecedented, but in a way it’s not. Sure, secret agents and front groups have hacked email systems, dumped documents on WikiLeaks, paid an army of internet trolls and spent thousands buying political ads on social media. It all seems new because the technologies are new. But it’s not the first time a government tried to mess with our heads by manipulating our media.

In fact, for more than two decades during the Cold War, the public was bombarded by an enormous publicity campaign to shape American views of Russia and its foreign policy. Advertisements appeared on every TV network, on radio stations across the country and in hundreds of newspapers. The campaign may have been the largest and most consistent source of political advertising in American history. And it was orchestrated by a big, powerful intelligence service: the Central Intelligence Agency.

It all began as a cover story. As the Cold War was getting underway, the C.I.A. wanted to take the fight into Russia’s backyard. So, in 1950, it created Radio Free Europe, a government-sponsored broadcasting station. Ostensibly, it provided unbiased news for Eastern Europeans, but in fact the agency used it to wage a subversive campaign to weaken Communist governments behind the Iron Curtain.

But how to hide the agency’s hand? How to account for the millions of C.I.A. dollars pouring into the broadcasting station? Simple: pretend that ordinary Americans are paying the bills.

The C.I.A.’s freewheeling spymaster, Frank Wisner, created a well-heeled and well-connected front group, the National Committee for a Free Europe. Each year it ran an enormous fund-raising campaign called the Crusade for Freedom (later renamed the Radio Free Europe Fund) that implored Americans to donate “freedom dollars” to combat Kremlin lies, complete with annual appeals resembling a hybrid of World War II war bond campaigns and contemporary NPR pledge drives.

Every president from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon endorsed the campaign. So did hundreds of governors, mayors, celebrities, editors and executives. Entertainers like Ronald Reagan, Rock Hudson, Jerry Lewis and the Kingston Trio pleaded for donations on radio and television. The Hollywood producers Darryl Zanuck and Cecil B. DeMille amplified those messages, as did powerful media figures like Bill Paley, the president of CBS; C. D. Jackson, the publisher of Fortune; and the media mogul Henry Luce. Even newspaper delivery boys played a part, soliciting donations from subscribers on their paper routes.

Then there was the Ad Council, the same industry organization that turned Smokey Bear into a cultural icon. The council sponsored the crusade as a public service, arranging for broadcasters to run ads without charge. The Ad Council’s sponsorship translated into as much as $2 billion worth of free advertising over the campaign’s history, in 2017 dollars.