The former head of Israel’s national intelligence agency, Tamir Pardo, said on Monday that Russia selected President Donald Trump as its preferred candidate in the 2016 election and then unleashed thousands of cyber bots to ensure his rise to the White House.
Speaking at The Marker's digital conference, Pardo said that it seems to him that the Russians simply chose to support the candidate that would be the most politically advantageous for them.
Pardo said they took a look at the political map in Washington, "and thought, which candidate would we like to have sitting in the White House? Who will help us achieve our goals? And they chose him. From that moment, they deployed a system [of bots] for the length of the elections, and ran him for president."
The ex-Mossad chief said “what we’ve seen so far with respect to bots and the distortion of information is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the greatest threat of recent years, and it threatens the basic values that we share – democracy and the world order created since World War Two."
The same forces that helped Trump win the presidency could eventually work against him, Pardo warned:
Politicians may believe they can use the bots to their advantage, but the consequences will come back to haunt them, Pardo continued. As an example, he said that Trump may think the bots worked in his favor, but it is the same bots that are liable to topple him. Politicians hold the key to stopping the chaos created by the bots, he concluded.