Russian Trolls Are Targeting Veterans But Veterans Say The Trump WH Doesn’t Care
The Trump administration has ignored mounting evidence that Russian operatives and other foreign malicious actors have been deliberately targeting U.S. troops and veterans with online disinformation for nearly two years, according to The Washington Post.
Vietnam Veterans of America warned officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments in March 2018 that American service members are being targeted by ongoing manipulation campaigns.
Kristofer Goldsmith, the veteran service organization’s chief investigator, said that those agencies quickly brushed off VVA since they were presented with evidence that eventually became a detailed report and congressional testimony.
The group asked Trump to intervene in a Dec. 18 letter because no federal agency had responded to their evidence of foreign “fraudulent activities ranging from identity theft to election interference.” VVA has not received a response.
VVA’s November report found that memes, over-the-top political comments, and false news articles were created by adversarial governments which were meant to intentionally sow social chaos by championing veterans and denigrating liberals and minorities. Many carried pro-Trump messages and were aided by common perceptions that the military leans conservative.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in March asked the FBI to investigate the “shadowy figures” behind the fake pages in response to Goldsmith’s findings.
Goldsmith remains concerned that Russia’s constant barrage is designed to elicit sympathy and downplay their global activities, while neutralizing criticism from troops and veterans.
“When you have service members believing Russia is not a threat to the elections, and didn’t interfere, they have friends and family convinced, it helps Russia get away with a serious attack on our democracy,” he said.