U.S. Intel Exposes Russian FSB’s Covert Propaganda Tactics in the West

  • Newly declassified information from U.S. intelligence agencies reveals that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is running a systematic program aimed at influencing public policy and opinion in the West, writes about it CNN. The program is designed to launder pro-Kremlin propaganda through private relationships, effectively “seeding” these narratives into Western discourse.
  • The Russian strategy involves directing Russian civilians to build personal relationships with influential individuals in the U.S. and other Western countries. Through these relationships, pro-Kremlin narratives are subtly introduced and disseminated, all while obscuring the FSB’s role in these operations.
  • These influence campaigns are intentionally small-scale, operating through layers of ostensibly independent actors. This approach is aimed at making the disseminated ideas appear organically generated within Western communities, rather than as part of a coordinated Russian effort.
  • Some of these Russian influence operations have successfully infiltrated Western media. For example, false claims made by a Russian NGO head about the humanitarian group the White Helmets eventually made their way into a far-right U.S. television report, demonstrating the potential effectiveness of these tactics.
  • U.S. intelligence officials emphasize that many of the Western individuals serving as channels for this propaganda are unwitting participants. They often remain unaware that they are disseminating Russian-generated narratives, unknowingly becoming mouthpieces for Russian influence operations.
  • The intelligence report provides specific examples of Russian civilian “co-optees” working on behalf of the FSB. One such individual founded a media project that sponsored journalists from the U.S. and the West to visit eastern Ukraine and learn a version of the truth that was almost certainly shaped and financed by the FSB. Another example includes a Russian NGO founder who visited multiple U.S. think tanks and universities, with her work allegedly funded by the FSB.

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