Alliance for Securing Democracy

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The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) is a bi-partisan transatlantic national security advocacy group formed in July 2017 with the stated aim of countering efforts by Russia to undermine democratic institutions in the United States and Europe.[1][2] As of 2021, it had expanded to combating the malign influence of the Chinese and Iranian governments and their state-backed media outlets.[3][4][5][6][7]

The organization is chaired and run primarily by former senior United States intelligence and State Department officials.[8] Its daily operations are led by Zack Cooper, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Laura Thornton, formerly of International IDEA, joined the group as its new director in May of 2021.[9] Laura Rosenberger, senior director for China on the Biden administration's National Security Council[10] previously served as a director of the ASD.[6][11] The ASD is housed at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and pursues its work in both the United States and Europe.[2]

History

In 2016, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the Director of National Intelligence[12] concluded that Russia had interfered in US elections of that year. The Alliance for Securing Democracy declared that it will develop strategies to "defend against, deter, and raise the costs" on any attempts by Russia or "other state actors" to undermine democracy.[2] Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who serves on ASD's advisory council, stated that the group will fulfill some of the role that ideally would have been handled by a national investigative commission.[13]

Hamilton 68 Dashboard

The original iteration of the Hamilton 68 Dashboard, released in 2017, tracked 600 Twitter accounts that ASD asserted might be "linked to Russian influence," whether knowingly or unknowingly.[14][15][16][17][18] ASD did not disclose which accounts the original version of Hamilton 68 tracked, citing its desire to "focus on the behavior of the overall network rather than get dragged into hundreds of individual debates over which troll fits which role."[19][20]Responding to what ASD viewed as inaccurate reporting on its dashboard, ASD's communications director, Bret Schafer, stated in a piece published on The Daily Caller they don't specifically track automated bot accounts. Schafer noted "…that results on the dashboard are meant to be viewed in a nuanced way […]" and that not all instances of information appearing on the dashboard were evidence of pro-Kremlin accounts or biases.[21]

The original version of Hamilton 68 was shutdown in 2018.[21]

Version 2.0 of the Hamilton 68 Dashboard, released in 2019, tracks approximately 600 Twitter social media accounts that the ASD asserts can be "directly attribute[d] to the Russian, Chinese, or Iranian governments or their various news and information channels."[22] The list of Twitter accounts currently tracked by Hamilton 2.0 has been released.[23]

In September 2017, and again in May of 2021, the group launched similar German-language dashboards focused on possible Russian influence in German politics ahead of the federal elections in those respective years.[24][25][18]

In January 2023, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted about internal Twitter documents related to Hamilton 68 that had been given him by CEO Elon Musk as part of the Twitter Files.[26][27] The documents show that Twitter's former Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, attempted to identify the accounts tracked in the dashboard. Roth found that only 36 of the 644 accounts he identified were registered in Russia and argued that the dashboard used "shoddy methodology" to incorrectly label authentic accounts as "Russian stooges without evidence". ASD responded to Taibbi's release a few days later, noting that ASD had always maintained that not all of the accounts on the dashboard were controlled by Russia, despite what it described as persistent misunderstandings in the media.[28][29][30] The National Desk's Sinnenberg counters Taibbi's criticisms as being hyperbolic.[21]

Reception

The Hamilton 68 Dashboard has been cited by many news outlets, including The New York Times,[31] The Washington Post,[32] NPR,[33] and Business Insider.[34] Previously, the dashboard had received criticism for its "secret methodology"[35] and refusal to disclose the Twitter accounts it tracks.[36][37] ASD founders Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly said that the accounts are not disclosed to prevent Russia from shutting them down.[38] James Carden wrote in The Nation that the dashboard seemed to characterize factual news items as Russian propaganda and questioned its impact on political discourse.[39]

Advisory council and staff

The ASD is governed by an Advisory Council and an operating staff who are drawn from the American Marshall Fund. The Washington Post called the membership of the advisory council "a who's who of former senior national security officials from both [the Democratic and Republican] parties."[8] Members of the advisory council include Michael Chertoff (a Republican who worked in the George W. Bush administration as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security) and Mike McFaul (a Democrat who worked in the Obama administration as U.S. Ambassador to Russia),[40] former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves,[41][42] neoconservative political analyst and commentator William Kristol, and Hillary Clinton foreign-policy adviser Jake Sullivan.[43]

Reception

In a 2017 article in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart argued that the group's efforts were important in understanding Russia's involvement in American politics.[44] Glenn Greenwald wrote that the group represented a political alliance between neoconservatives and establishment Democrats.[45][36][46][47]

See also

References

  1. ^ Gilliland, Donald (May 4, 2021). "Restore trust in our democracy through more election transparency". TheHill. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Alliance for Securing Democracy: Mission Statement". Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Nigro, Nick. "China". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Nigro, Nick. "Iran". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  5. ^ Nakashima, Ellen; Gardner, Amy; Stanley-Becker, Isaac; Timberg, Craig (October 22, 2020). "U.S. government concludes Iran was behind threatening emails sent to Democrats". Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany (February 2, 2021). "Axios China Newsletter (Feb 2 2021)". www.axios.com. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Schrader, Matt (April 22, 2020). "Friends and Enemies: A Framework for Understanding Chinese Political Interference in Democratic Countries". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Rogin, Josh (July 11, 2017). "National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief". Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  9. ^ "Laura Thornton". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Biden picks Clinton adviser Rosenberger as White House China director". Reuters. January 15, 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  11. ^ "Laura Rosenberger". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  12. ^ Lauren Carroll (July 6, 2017). "17 intelligence organizations or 4? Either way, Russia conclusion still valid". PolitiFact. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Rogin, Josh. "National Security Figures Launch Project to Counter Russian Mischief". The Washington Post. No. July 11, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  14. ^ Rosenberger, Laura; Berger, J.M. (August 2, 2017). "Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter". Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  15. ^ Gallagher, Sean (August 2, 2017). "New Web tool tracks Russian "influence ops" on Twitter". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Wakabauyashi, Daisuke (September 27, 2017). "Twitter, with accounts linked to Russia, to face Congress over Role in Election". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  17. ^ Elder, Miriam; Warzel, Charlie (February 28, 2018). "Stop Blaming Russian Bots For Everything". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Masis, Julie. "Real-time tracking system measures Russian interference in German elections". No. September 24, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  19. ^ Rothrock, Kevin (August 2, 2017). "Tracking Russian propaganda in real time: The trouble with a new automated effort to expose Moscow's 'active measures' against Americans". Meduza. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  20. ^ Ingram, Mathew (February 21, 2018). "The media today: Are Russian trolls behind everything?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Sinnenberg, Jackson (January 31, 2023). "Twitter Files 15 furthers the misunderstanding of 'Hamilton 68'". The National Desk. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  22. ^ Schafer, Bret (September 3, 2019). "Hamilton 2.0 Methodology & FAQs". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  23. ^ Nigro, Nick. "Hamilton Monitored Accounts on Twitter". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  24. ^ Nigro, Nick. "2021 German Elections Project". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  25. ^ Nigro, Nick. "German Election Dashboard". Alliance For Securing Democracy. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  26. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (December 4, 2022). "Elon Musk, Matt Taibbi, and a Very Modern Media Maelstrom". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 13, 2023. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  27. ^ Frankel, Alison (December 5, 2022). "Musk is entitled to order disclosures like 'The Twitter Files.' Are states?". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 6, 2022. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  28. ^ Sinnenberg, Jackson (January 31, 2023). "Twitter Files 15 furthers the misunderstanding of 'Hamilton 68'". The National Desk. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  29. ^ Covucci, David (January 30, 2023). "Why there's an uproar over 'Russian' tracking board Hamilton 68". The Daily Dot. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  30. ^ Soave, Robby (January 27, 2023). "Twitter Files: Employees knew the media's favorite Russian bots list was fake". Reason.com. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  31. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke; Shane, Scott (September 28, 2017). "Twitter, with Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress over Role in Election". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Dwoskin, Elizabeth; Timberg, Craig (January 31, 2018). "Lawmakers press social media companies — again — on the forces behind the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  33. ^ "Tracking Shows Russian Meddling Efforts Evolving Ahead Of 2018 Midterms". NPR.org. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  34. ^ "Russian bots are rallying behind embattled Fox News host Laura Ingraham as advertisers dump her show". Business Insider. April 2018.
  35. ^ Taibbi, Matt (March 5, 2018). "The new blacklist". Rolling Stone.
  36. ^ a b Ingram, Mathew (February 21, 2018). "The media today: Are Russian trolls behind everything?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  37. ^ McGrath, M.C.; Greenwald, Glenn (April 20, 2018). "How shoddy reporting and anti-Russian propaganda coerced Ecuador to silence Julian Assange". The Intercept. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  38. ^ Glasser, Susan B. (February 26, 2018). "The Russian Bots Are Coming. This Bipartisan Duo Is On It". Politico. Retrieved January 31, 2023. Rosenberger and Fly disclose their methodology on their website and say they can't reveal the list of the 600 accounts they are following or the Russians will simply shut them down.
  39. ^ Carden, James (August 7, 2017). "Our Russia fixation is devolving into an assault on political discourse". The Nation.
  40. ^ Nigro, Nick. "Advisory Council".
  41. ^ Rogin, Josh (July 11, 2017). "National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  42. ^ "'Alliance for Securing Democracy' Launches at GMF". German Marshall Fund. July 11, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  43. ^ Carden, James (August 7, 2017). "Our Russia Fixation Is Devolving Into an Assault on Political Discourse". The Nation. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  44. ^ Beinart, Peter (July 23, 2017). "Donald Trump's Defenders on the Left". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  45. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (July 17, 2017). "With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons". The Intercept. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  46. ^ vanden Heuvel, Katrina (August 8, 2017). "The emerging unholy alliance between hawkish Democrats and neoconservatives". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  47. ^ Lynch, Conor (January 24, 2017). "Are Democrats turning to an alliance between neocons and neoliberals? If so, it's a terrible strategy". Salon. Retrieved June 16, 2018.

External links