Russian Twitter accounts pushing for release of ‘shocking’ surveillance memo
Russian-linked bots on Twitter are pushing for the House Intelligence Committee to release a classified report written by committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
Some Republicans believe the report shows political bias in the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
#ReleaseTheMemo is the top trending hashtag among Twitter accounts believed to be operated by Kremlin-linked groups, according to Hamilton 68, a website which tracks Russian propaganda online.
Hamilton 68 is spearheaded by Clint Watts, an expert on foreign actors using American social media. Watts has testified before Congress multiple times on the matter.
The #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag has increased by 286,700 percent over the past two days and is being used 100 times more than any other hashtag by accounts Hamilton 68 is tracking.
The accounts have also frequently been tweeting out links to Wikileaks.org and specifically to its page to submit documents.
After news of the controversial memo existence leaked, Wikileaks tweeted an open call for anyone with access to it to release it to the website.
Republicans, such as Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), have called on House Intelligence to release Nunes’s memo, saying that it details evidence of widespread “FISA abuse,” referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives the government significant surveillance powers. While some members of Congress voiced opposition to FISA, Congress voted to reauthorize it earlier this week.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said the report “raises serious questions about the upper echelon of the Obama DOJ and Comey FBI as it relates to the so-called collusion investigation.”
Democrats, such as House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (Calif.), have been more critical of the memo and of Russian propaganda efforts encouraging lawmakers to release it
“The very distorted talking points I think are completely misleading, but then I think they are intended to be. Leave it to the majority to secure the help of Julian Assange and Russian bots who are pushing this campaign right now,” Schiff said Friday.
“I think the majority is doing a terrible disservice to the FBI and law enforcement in general,” he said.
Melanie Zanona, Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley contributed.
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