Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, October 19, 2018

A criminal complaint was unsealed in Alexandria, Virginia, today charging a Russian national for her alleged role in a Russian conspiracy to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2018 midterm election ... "Today's charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy," said Assistant Attorney General Demers. "Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable."

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"The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions," said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. "This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case."

"This case serves as a stark reminder to all Americans: Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates," said Director Wray. "We take all threats to our democracy very seriously, and we're committed to working with our partners to identify and stop these unlawful influence operations. Together, we must remain diligent and determined to protect our democratic institutions and maintain trust in our electoral process."

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of "Project Lakhta," a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others.

Khusyaynova allegedly managed the financing of Project Lakhta operations, including foreign influence activities directed at the United States. The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and "promoting news postings on social networks." Between January 2016 and June 2018, Project Lakhta's proposed operating budget totaled more than $35 million, although only a portion of these funds were directed at the United States. Between January and June 2018 alone, Project Lakhta's proposed operating budget totaled more than $10 million.

The alleged conspiracy, in which Khusyaynova is alleged to have played a central financial management role, sought to conduct what it called internally "information warfare against the United States." This effort was not only designed to spread distrust towards candidates for U.S. political office and the U.S. political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements.

The conspirators allegedly took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists. This included the use of virtual private networks and other means to disguise their activities and to obfuscate their Russian origin.

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Can we hang this foreign filth for their high crime?

#1 | Posted by Tor at 2018-10-19 08:54 PM | Reply

The awkward thing is that what is an election interference crime for non-US nationals is free speech for those of us who are. Right here on this board people -- including me -- freely say things that would be foreign interference if said by a non-US citizen. This very opinion I'm expressing now in this post, perhaps. How do you know I'm not a foreign national? You don't. You don't even know my name or what I do or did for a living. Free speech on boards, twitter, emails, etc. is being used against us by foreign nationals saying what we do every day. For us it's freedom of speech. For them it's a crime?

I have a friend from Canada who visits the U.S. regularly. Should he fear to express an opinion on American politics while he's here? I don't. But should he? Can he, without fear of being arrested? How and where do we draw the line?

#2 | Posted by nimbleswitch at 2018-10-20 08:12 AM | Reply

Did you even read what you wrote Nimbler?

You actually equated a Kremlin paid Russian spy/troll committing computer fraud by impersonating multiple Americans to spread lies and hateful rhetoric in order to sow hate, division and chaos with an American Cititzen or a Canadian Citizen exercising a right protected by the US Constitution in America.

You are either an accomplice to the original crime or a useful idiot who needs to study American history a little closer before you open your damn mouth again a prove what fool you are.

Hostile foreign powers Committing computer crimes and fraud in order to influence our elections is NOT a constitutional right and is in no way the same as exercising your 1st amendment rights.

#3 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-10-20 09:31 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

An attack by Donnerboy! High praise indeed! I've finally arrived!

Apparently I need to ask you again: How and where do we draw the line?

#4 | Posted by nimbleswitch at 2018-10-20 09:45 AM | Reply

There is no "line". There is the Law. You do not (normally) violate the law just by speaking. You do violate the law when you commit computer fraud with the intent of influencing US elections. Computer fraud by a hostile foreign power is not protected speech.

And if you believe any of the crap you wrote then the damn Russians have already won.

#5 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-10-20 10:04 AM | Reply

"An attack by Donnerboy! High praise indeed! I've finally arrived! "

Not an "attack".

I have yet begun to fight.

That my friend was just a friendly warning shot across your bow.

Think before you speak.

-semper fi

#6 | Posted by donnerboy at 2018-10-20 10:13 AM | Reply

So no illegal immigrant has ever tried to influence an American election?

#7 | Posted by jdmeth at 2018-10-20 01:21 PM | Reply

So no illegal immigrant has ever tried to influence an American election?

#7 | POSTED BY JDMETH

Perhaps one has. We should find him and prosecute him, not practice whataboutism.

#8 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2018-10-20 01:44 PM | Reply

Donnerboy, you don't get it, and you never will.

I can get on a computer and knowingly tell political lies to U.S. Internet viewers, hoping to influence U.S. voters in November -- and that's free speech. But a Russian, French, British or Canadian citizen can't do that. It's a crime, we say. OK, so what can they say about American politics? And when ... and how ... and to whom? How and where do we draw that line?

Don't bother to respond, Donnerboy. You've long ago established an inability to comprehend anything that isn't spoon fed to you by Faux News. I'm looking for intelligent comments.

#9 | Posted by Nimbleswitch at 2018-10-21 12:25 AM | Reply

#5 | Posted by donnerboy

She is not charged with computer fraud, nor violating FARA, nor violating any campaign or election law. She is charged with "conspiracy to defraud the United States" which means "to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft, or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest." (emphasis added). Notice that said government not public nor the electorate.

Reading the affidavit supporting the complaint, you will find nothing not expressed in mainstream media reporting, themes and opinions as well as on this blog whether left or right.

BTW it's not unlawful for foreign nationals to comment on or express opinions on US politics or elections. https://www.fec.gov/updates/foreign-nationals/

#4 | Posted by nimbleswitch

Apparently the line lies in the amount or volume but we will likely never know with any degree of certainty because the likelihood of a trial or public airing of the charges is slim.

#10 | Posted by et_al at 2018-10-21 02:10 AM | Reply

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