“In its review, the ICRC found that Russia secretly transferred more than $300 million, and secretly planned to transfer at least hundreds of millions to foreign political parties, officials and politicians in more than twenty countries and across four continents in this period,” the official told reporters, adding that “Russia on It is likely that additional funds were secretly transferred in cases that were not disclosed.”
The official said Russia’s motive was “to try to take advantage of certain political parties and undermine democracy in all of these countries.” Our view is that one of the most effective ways to counter Russian covert influence is to expose it.”
The official said the results of the review — which Biden administration officials ordered earlier this summer — have been downgraded so that the information can be shared with the public and with allies around the world.
The United States has shared findings and steps that can be taken to counter this threat with countries invited to the Democracy Summit, which will take place in December. The United States is also quietly briefing affected countries.
“US intelligence services brief specially selected countries on secret Russian funding targeting their specific political environments,” the official said. “We keep these briefings confidential given the sensitivity of the data, and to enable these countries to particularly enhance their electoral integrity.” .
The Biden administration hopes there will be a number of benefits from sharing this information publicly, including: increasing global awareness about the threat of Russian secret political finance, inducing other countries to return to the United States with their own information about Russia’s operations, and clarification. The official said Russia’s covert political influence is a “global phenomenon that requires coordinated action.”
Russia and the parties it supports have also been put “informed” now that this information is public.
“By highlighting secret Russian political finance and Russian attempts to undermine democratic processes, we are letting these foreign parties and candidates know that if they secretly accept Russian money, we can and we will expose it. So we really see this as a multifaceted benefit from engaging the IC study the way we are.” ‘ said the official.
A “big challenge” for the United States
CNN previously reported that US officials are preparing for a mix of foreign interference and domestic disinformation campaigns about the voting process as the midterm vote approaches.
The IRA, known for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, had a monthly budget of $1.25 million at the height of that election, according to the Justice Department’s 2018 indictment against the group and its staff. Meanwhile, Facebook revealed in 2017 that Russian trolls bought more than $100,000 in ads on their platform during the 2016 election.
A senior administration official focused on weaknesses in the United States on Tuesday, saying that “Russia’s secret political influence poses a major challenge to the United States.”
The Biden administration believes it is important to recognize that the Russian intervention is not only a clear challenge to the United States.
“The purpose of this disclosure campaign is to look beyond the United States without denying that this is our concern and our weakness here. But we wanted to use the disclosure campaign to contextualize our context in the broader framework of a challenge to covert Russian political influence, which is global in nature as demonstrated by the ICRC’s analysis” .
“We are clear that it is ongoing, pervasive and global,” said the administration’s official on Russia’s covert political operations.
On Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent a telegram to embassies around the world detailing the findings of this review by the intelligence community.
Global Russian involvement has been documented in certain cases, including Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania. The Blinken cable said the US intelligence community’s review included Russian interference in more than two dozen countries.
“For Russia, the benefits of “secret political finance” are twofold: to grow influence on individuals and parties, and to increase the likelihood of these parties doing well in elections. Hidden relationships between these parties and Russian recipients undermine the integrity, and public belief in democratic institutions,” the telegram says. .
Blinken detailed Russian intervention methods, including lavish gifts, cash or cryptocurrency, the movement of funds through shell companies and think tanks, and the use of Russian embassy accounts and resources.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.