Alliance for Securing Democracy

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The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) is a bipartisan 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] The organization is chaired and run primarily by former senior United States intelligence and State Department officials.[3] Its daily operations are led by Laura Rosenberger, a former senior State Department official who worked in the George W. Bush administration and later in the Obama administration[4], and Jamie Fly, who also worked in the Bush administration[5] and later as a national security counselor to Senator Marco Rubio.[3] 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]

The ASD publishes a web dashboard called "Hamilton 68" showing the activity of Twitter accounts that the organization claims are linked to Russian propaganda.

History[edit]

In 2016, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the Director of National Intelligence[6] asserted that Russia had interfered in US elections. 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.[1][2] Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell stated that the group will fulfill some of the role that ideally would have been handled by a national investigative commission.[7]

Hamilton 68[edit]

The "Hamilton 68" Dashboard on the ASD website tracks in real-time 600 Twitter social media accounts that the ASD asserts are "linked to Russian influence," whether knowingly or unknowingly.[8][9][10] In September 2017, the group launched a similar German-language website focused on possible Russian influence in German politics.[11] The ASD's tracking encompasses social media accounts it suspects are related to the Russian government or Russian state media, as well as accounts it believes to be unconnected to Russia, but which repeat what it sees as Russian government views.[11] ASD does not disclose which accounts "Hamilton 68" tracks, 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."[12][13]

The then newly formed ASD said in August 2017 that it was "exploring ways" to similarly analyze Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube.[1]

Advisory council and staff[edit]

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."[3] 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),[14] former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves,[15][16] neoconservative political analyst and commentator William Kristol, and Hillary Clinton foreign-policy adviser Jake Sullivan.[17]

Reception[edit]

The Hamilton 68 dashboard has been cited by many news outlets, including The New York Times,[18] The Washington Post,[19] NPR,[20] and Business Insider.[21]

The dashboard has also received criticism for its "secret methodology"[22] and refusal to disclose the Twitter accounts it tracks.[13][23] ASD founders Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly say these accounts are not disclosed so to prevent them from getting shut down.[24]

Writing in The Nation, James Carden questioned the project's characterization of factual news items as Russian propaganda, concluding that the project "seeks to police and narrow the scope of acceptable political discourse".[25]

Glenn Greenwald criticized the group, opining that it represented a political alliance between neoconservatives and establishment Democrats.[26][13][27][28] In an article in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart argued that while Greenwald's fear of hawkish foreign policy was founded, it was nevertheless important to understand Russia's involvement in American politics.[29] In a Politico article, Susan Glasser praised the group for its bipartisan approach to tracking Russian propaganda.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Volz, Dustin (August 2, 2017). "New website aims to track Russian-backed propaganda on Twitter". Reuters. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Alliance for Securing Democracy: Mission Statement". Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Rogin, Josh (July 11, 2017). "National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief". Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ https://www.c-span.org/video/?442528-5/washington-journal-laura-rosenberger-jamie-fly-discuss-russian-election-interference, @ 16:49
  5. ^ "Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly: The Full Transcript". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  6. ^ Lauren Carroll (July 6, 2017). "17 intelligence organizations or 4? Either way, Russia conclusion still valid". PolitiFact. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Rogin, Josh. "National Security Figures Launch Project to Counter Russian Mischief" (July 11, 2017). The Washington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Sean (August 2, 2017). "New Web tool tracks Russian "influence ops" on Twitter". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Elder, Miriam; Warzel, Charlie (February 28, 2018). "Stop Blaming Russian Bots For Everything". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Masis, Julie. "Real-time tracking system measures Russian interference in German elections" (September 24, 2017). Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b c Ingram, Mathew (February 21, 2018). "The media today: Are Russian trolls behind everything?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  14. ^ ASD Advisory Council
  15. ^ Rogin, Josh (July 11, 2017). "National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "'Alliance for Securing Democracy' Launches at GMF". German Marshall Fund. July 11, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  17. ^ Carden, James (August 7, 2017). "Our Russia Fixation Is Devolving Into an Assault on Political Discourse". The Nation. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  18. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/technology/twitter-russia-election.html
  19. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/01/31/lawmakers-press-social-media-companies-again-on-the-forces-behind-the-releasethememo-campaign/
  20. ^ https://www.npr.org/2018/02/08/584144083/tracking-shows-russian-meddling-efforts-evolving-ahead-of-2018-midterms
  21. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-bots-support-fox-news-host-laura-ingraham-amid-advertiser-exodus-2018-3
  22. ^ Taibbi, Matt (5 March 2018). "The new blacklist". Rolling Stone.
  23. ^ McGrath, M.C.; Greenwald, Glenn (20 April 2018). "How shoddy reporting and anti-Russian propaganda coerced Ecuador to silence Julian Assange". The Intercept. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  24. ^ a b Glasser, Susan B. "The Russian bots are coming. This bipartisan duo is on it". Politico. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  25. ^ Carden, James (7 August 2017). "Our Russia fixation is devolving into an assault on political discourse". The Nation.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ vanden Heuvel, Katrina (August 8, 2017). "The emerging unholy alliance between hawkish Democrats and neoconservatives". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Beinart, Peter (July 23, 2017). "Donald Trump's Defenders on the Left". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 16, 2018.

External links[edit]