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Veterans groups sound alarm over Russian trolling, say Trump administration isn’t responding

MIAMI BEACH- NOVEMBER 12: Army special forces vet Tony Junot holds an American flag during a Veterans Day ceremony November 12, 2007 in Miami Beach, Florida. Veterans Day honors military veterans from all wars that the United States has fought. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Vietnam Veterans of America has gone public, talking to The Washington Post about Russian and other foreign operatives specifically targeting U.S. troops and veterans on social media with “disinformation amplified on a massive scale.” The Trump administration has ignored their warnings, the VVA says, and has for almost two years.

Kristofer Goldsmith, the veteran service organization’s chief investigator and associate director for policy and government affairs, told the Post that they’ve appealed to the Defense Department and to Veterans Affairs as well as other agencies for assistance. They’ve even spoken directly with Trump, to no avail. The VVA provided a report and testified before Congress that service member and veteran communities online were being specifically targeted. He suggests that either the agencies find the whole issue too complicated, or they don’t want to cross Trump, who doesn’t like people talking about the fact that Russia is at least partly responsible for his occupation of the Oval Office. “It’s easy to say ‘let’s send Javelins to Ukraine.’ People get that. […] It’s much more difficult for the secretary of VA to say ‘this is our plan to educate 9 million veterans who use our health care on how to spot a deep fake or falsified news.'”

On December 18, Goldsmith said, VVA wrote directly to Trump via his veterans group liaison, Jennifer Korn. They asked for his intervention because the evidence they had provided federal agencies of foreign “fraudulent activities ranging from identity theft to election interference” has been ignored. This letter has been ignored, too. No one has asked the VVA or Goldsmith for more information or even bothered to respond.

The administration told the Post they got the letter but wouldn’t say what, if anything, they would do about it. The FBI refused to comment on tips, the VA declined to comment directly beyond a “generic statement.” Likewise, the Defense Department sent a generic statement about its “broad guidance and training about service member activity on social media.”

Source: Daily Kos

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