Putin Must Bring The KGB Files When He Visits The White House

From Trevor Loudon's News Feed:

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

There is much anticipation of the repatriation of the POW/MIAs from North Korea as a result of the Singapore Summit. As of the time of this post, none have been returned, but coordination is still underway as stated by the U.S. State Department.

But, it must be understood, the KGB, now FSB, maintains files on many American military personnel that in fact ended up in Soviet military hospitals as well as various gulags. To date, Russia for the most part, not only denies this, but the evidence remains not only from the conflict of North Korea, but Vietnam as well.

In June 1951, Lois got a telegram telling her Moore had been shot down while piloting an F-51 Mustang over the South China Sea, off the coast of North Korea. He was reported as missing in action.

On Dec. 31, 1953, the Air Force notified Lois that Harry was presumed dead and was listed as killed in action.

Lois decided she had to move on. She moved to California. She connected there with Harry’s brother, Bob. They reminisced about Harry and grew closer. In 1954, they married. Bob raised Jana as his own daughter, and he and Lois had a daughter of their own, Nancy. They owned a medical-manufacturing business, and in 1996 retired to Star, Idaho.

In August 2002, Lois received a Federal Express package from the Air Force.

In it, a July 19, 2002, memo to the Air Force Missing Persons Branch from the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office read: “(I)t is possible that Capt. Harry C. Moore survived his shoot-down incident and may have been interrogated by Soviet officials. His fate afterwards remains unknown.”

The Moores were shocked. “We thought, goodness gracious, there is still hope he could be alive,” said Bob Moore. “For 50 years we had closure. … Now we have uncertainty. He may have been suffering for all that time in some Russian prison.”

In March 1954, the U.S. Air Force asked the CIA for assistance in finding U.S. servicemen in Communist custody. More here.

***

Related reading: The ‘1205 Document’: A Story of American Prisoners, Vietnamese Agents, Soviet Archives, Washington Bureaucrats, and the Media

***

Mark Sauter began doing some lengthy research on his own for others.

Sauter, whose findings inspired him to co-author a book and start his own blog, was further inspired after the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the U.S.–Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs in 1992. For the first time, U.S. officials were given access to Russian archives and former Soviet military personnel, some of whom appeared to confirm that U.S. pilots had indeed been taken prisoner in Russia. While Harry Moore was never named specifically, the commission reportedly turned up potential clues.

One former Soviet airman recalled hearing of a captured U.S. pilot with a similar physical appearance to Harry Moore’s who went on to become an instructor for Soviet recruits. An Estonian witness said in 1993 he remembered a Captain “Harry or Gary Moore” who was shot down in the summer of 1951 and had been interrogated by the Soviet 64th Fighter Aviation Corps. Perhaps the most shocking piece of evidence came in 1997, when U.S. representatives interviewed Aleksey Alekseevich Kalyuzhniy in Ukraine. Kalyuzhniy claimed to have piloted the MiG-15 that took down what may have been Harry Moore’s plane on June 1, 1951, and that he witnessed it land less than a hundred feet from shore.

“[T]he F-51 pilot appeared to be in complete control of the aircraft as it gently landed on the sea,” Kalyuzhniy said, adding that he believed the pilot could easily have survived the wreck. More here.

Going back to 1992, the LATimes reported that Stalin had executed some American prisoners after WWII. Russian investigators declared they have found no evidence, including those POW/MIAs from North Korea or Vietnam.

The Soviet Union under dictator Josef Stalin “summarily executed” some American prisoners after World War II and forced others, some of whom are still alive, to renounce their citizenship, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin said in a letter to a Senate committee Wednesday.

But no evidence uncovered by Russian investigators so far indicates that American POWs from the Vietnam or the Korean wars were transferred to the Soviet Union, said Dmitri Volkogonov, the senior Russian emissary who read Yeltsin’s letter to the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs.

Yeltsin’s letter spoke only in general terms of newly discovered documents indicating “the shocking facts” of some prisoners being executed by the regime of Stalin “and in a number of cases being forced to renounce their U.S. citizenship.”

But the letter also said the rights of all surviving American POWs “are now fully guaranteed” and they are free to return to the United States if they choose. “There are no American citizens forcibly held on the territory of Russia,” Yeltsin said.

*** The CIA has files in addition to the known KGB files, yet as of this writing they are still classified. The question is why?

There are locations of particular interest and they include Military Hospital 404 located in Novosysoyevka. Two American spy planes were shot down in the waters near Vladivostok during the Cold War. There were up to as many as 30 planes shot down over Soviet territory between 1950 and 1970 with an estimated 252 American crew members coming up missing. Other locations possibly include Tayshet, Vorkuta.

Please note page 43, Americans in the Gulag in this document.

Perhaps the WRINGER program, where the collection is housed at the Library of Congress, can shed some daylight on a few questions.

Following World War II, thousands of German and Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) were incarcerated in the forced labor camps of the Soviet Union. These POWs were forced to help rebuild the Soviet Union following the Second World War. Beginning in 1946, the Soviet Union began releasing thousands of these German and Japanese POWs to their homeland. U.S. Air Force officers quickly realized the tremendous political and military information these ex-POWs possessed, and initiated an intensive interview program. From 1947 through 1956, U.S. Air Force personnel in the U.S. Zone of Germany interviewed over 300,000 ex-POWs. A similar program was intiated by the U.S. Air Force in Japan upon the return of thousands of Japanese POWs.

WRINGER sources ranged from common laborers to highly skilled technicians. These men were detained in forced labor camps throughout the former Soviet Union. The fact that an ex-POW had no particular knowledge did not make the individual valueless. Almost all German and Japanese ex-POWs had the ability to remember at least the broad details of the places where they had worked. Most importantly, some of them remembered meeting, seeing, or hearing about U.S. and allied servicemen who were also detained in the forced labor camps.

Researchers from the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Persons Office (DPMO), Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD) have initiated a concerted effort to review the WRINGER reports. They are specifically searching for reports that may shed light on the numerous eyewitness sightings of U.S. servicemen reportedly held in Soviet forced labor camps. The WRINGER reports are now declassified and stored in 1,350 boxes at the National Archives’ College Park repository.

In addition, the WRINGER reports have triggered considerable interest among many outside researchers. Scholars of the Soviet period have commented on the detail and accuracy contained in the reports, indicating the importance they have for their own inquiries into those individuals unaccounted-for in the Gulag.

Working under authority of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, the Joint Commission Support Division (JCSD) of the United States Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) External Link makes available to the public those documents obtained from archives in the former Soviet Union that pertain to Americans who are unaccounted for from World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Cold War, and the war in Southeast Asia. The documents have been translated from Russian into English.

The documents indexed in this database were retrieved from various official Soviet-era and Russian archives, and were redacted (edited) to remove personal information, as well as information regarding the location, condition, and treatment of the missing Americans. United States law requires redaction of such information in order to preserve privacy.

The archive folders often contain a large number of documents that relate to a particular event or subject. The documents offered to the public at this website were selected from those larger archival files according to their relevance to the actual cases of unaccounted-for Americans. Therefore, selected pages of often larger documents are included in this database. One archive subject heading may contain hundreds or thousands of pages of documents, only a few of which may cite information on the American(s) whose whereabouts is questioned. For example, the classification “TFR65-1” (designating “Task Force Russia”) refers to archive document number 65, page one (and, in some cases, additional following pages). The user may also find the designation “TFR65-23,” which indicates that the document being viewed is page 23 of document 65. Pages 2 through 22 may or may not have been translated and released to the public. This numbering system was established by the DPMO/JCSD personnel who actually examined and retrieved the documents.

The documents have been indexed in order to provide organized searching. The index includes the title of the document (or a statement concerning its subject if the document has no exact title), document date, the total number of pages, name(s) identified in the document, keywords, and comments giving the searcher additional information about the document. Once the search term(s) is entered in the search engine, a list of “hits” will appear. The searcher may click on each “hit” and then click on “view tiff image” link to view the image of the complete document.

More detail is here about the WRINGER program. The document was declassified in 2017. It is an interview, oral summary with Colonel Robert Work from the HQ Air Intelligence Agency.

The Coming Defeat Of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

From Trevor Loudon's News Feed:

By: Cliff Kincaid | America’s Survival

“I do not believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed,” says Phillip L. Jauregui of the conservative Judicial Action Group. “Kavanaugh is going to be stopped.” The legal scholar predicts conservative Senators are beginning to understand Kavanaugh’s objectionable rulings on religious freedom, abortion, Obamacare and other cases. Host Cliff Kincaid also brings up Kavanaugh’s ruling in favor of Obama’s NSA surveillance program and his questionable involvement in probing the mysterious death of Clinton lawyer Vincent Foster.

Putin Vs. McFaul, DHS, Browder And Why

From Trevor Loudon's News Feed:

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

It all comes down to the Magnitsky Act. In short Vladimir Putin is furious over this law and other countries are slowly setting it as law as well, most recently it appears, Spain.

When President Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, that was part of the discussion, repeal the law or apply waivers and allow Moscow access to key people, such as Bill Browder, a British citizen, former Ambassador McFaul, a few DHS investigators and two others, a fellow named Parker and other named Otto.  Finally the Trump White House said NYET.

It was in May that Bill Browder, who actually is attending the 2018 Aspen Security Forum, was arrested in Spain and almost immediately released due to some major confusion over a Red Notice launched by Russia, one of many times. Why was Browder in Spain? Likely helping authorities there with international crime/money laundering by Russian operatives.

What is the case about exactly? Well, it is an extension of the reach of the Magnitsky Act.

As Jamestown reported in February of 2018:

On February 19, after a decade of investigations, Spanish prosecutors finally launched a major trial against notable members of the Russian mafia operating in the Iberian country. All in all, sufficient evidence was collected against 18 persons (cases, however, were opened against 27 alleged members of the Russian mafia and their supporters), of whom 6 are Spanish nationals charged with falsification of documents and auxiliary support. The culprits have been accused of money laundering and the “creation of a criminal community in Spain” (Elmundo.es, February 19). The legal process promises to become one of the most resonant recent cases related to the Russian mafia abroad. The accused are said to belong to the so-called Tambovskaya-Malyshevskaya organized criminal group (OPG)—one of the most formidable Russian mafia operations that emerged in St. Petersburg, in the late 1980s (Elmundo.es, June 13, 2008). Available information on the case suggests that the potential impact of the current investigation might turn out to be much more far-reaching than initially anticipated.

Gennady Petrov (Source: OCCRP)

The Russian mafia has had a long history in Spain. Indeed the current case against members of the Tambovskaya-Malyshevskaya OPG is a continuation of an investigation that Spanish law enforcement initiated in 2008. That year, Spanish prosecutors and the Spanish police (Civil Guard or Guardia Civil, in Spanish) carried out a special operation, code-named “Troika,” against Russian criminals residing in Spain, which resulted in the arrest of several prominent members of the Russian mafia, notably including Gennady Petrov and Alexander Malyshev. The two men were apprehended in their mansions, located in Mallorca and Malaga. After the wave of arrests, investigators named 500 Spanish bank accounts that had been used for money laundering. In the final analysis, Spanish authorities manged to seize €12 million (then worth $18.4 million) in various accounts (Lenpravda.ru, June 16, 2008).

Petrov and Malyshev built their criminal careers (and accumulated most of their financial capital) in Russia. But when their criminal enterprise started to be marginalized in the late 1990s, they were forced to flee Russia and settled in Spain, where they acquired luxurious residential properties. However, they manged to escape justice under various pretexts and eventually returned to Russia (Russiangate.com, August 16, 2017).

Spanish police has revealed that Petrov alone owns financial assets in Spain worth close to €50 million ($62 million). Additionally, Spanish prosecutors allege that Petrov and the other defendants in the current trial have accumulated their wealth from criminal activities such as assassinations, arms and drug smuggling, extortion, abductions for ransom, and the falsification of documents (Elmundo.es, February 19, 2018). In the course of the investigation, prosecutors also ascertained that, over the years, members of the Russian mafia created hundreds of companies that were allegedly selling property in different regions of Spain, primarily in Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Mallorca. The real purpose of these companies, however, was to launder funds collected from drug and arms smuggling as well as to “buy up valuable contacts.” After passing through Spanish banks, the laundered money subsequently went to accounts in Liechtenstein or ended up in Panama (and the other way around).

The established criminal network in Spain also developed further close ties with Russian domestic criminal circles. For example, Petrov’s son, Anton, is considered to be a member of the same criminal society. Under his umbrella, dozens of companies are currently operating in St. Petersburg, among them the large jewellery company “585.” According to a ranking published in 2016 by the magazine Delovoy Peterburg, Petrov’s son was the 26th richest Russian billionaire, with a fortune worth 37 billion rubles ($650 million) (Novyj vzglyad, August 17, 2017).

The current Spanish legal case could shed additional light on the ties between Russian political elites and Russian organized crime abroad. It is curious to note that Spanish prosecutors specifically mentioned the name Vladislav Reznik as a person allegedly tightly related to the criminal group established by Petrov and Malyshev. Reznik chairs the St. Petersburg–based insurance company Rus, is the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Finances, and is a former chairman of the Moscow-based insurance firm Rosgosstrakh (RSG). He has been wanted by Spanish law enforcement since 2016. Considered by Spanish authorities to be one of the most important figures who contributed to expanding the Russian mafia to Spain, he is accused of laundering over $62 million. Yet, until now, he has managed to escape justice (Elmundo.es, June 1, 2015).

Spanish prosecutors have also ascertained the existence of apparent connections between Reznik and Herman Gref, the current CEO and chairman of Russia’s Sberbank. The list of figures named in the Spanish authorities’ indictment also includes such well-known persons as Ilya Taber (a member of the Vyborg OPG), Anatoly Serdyukov (the former minister of defense of Russia), Viktor Zubkov (former Russian prime minister), Boris Gryzlov (former speaker of the Russian parliament) and Leonid Reiman (former minister of communications and information technologies of Russia and a financial tycoon) (Meduza.io, February 19, 2018).

According to Spanish officials, Petrov was closely related to Reznik, whose main responsibilities boiled down to the “corruption of high officials [and] obtaining of classified information in the highest Russian governmental bodies and agencies.” Case materials additionally mention 78 telephone conversations between Petrov and Nikolay Akulov, the former deputy chief of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation, who is also wanted by Spanish prosecutors (Svoboda.org, March 31, 2016). On top of that, case materials detail the rapid career growth of Alexander Bastrykin (the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia), allegedly thanks to Petrov’s “advocacy” on his behalf (Openrussia.org, December 2, 2015). Petrov, in turn, was acting through the former top-ranking official from the Investigative Committee of Russia, Igor Sobolevsky (Newtimes.ru, November 30, 2015).

At this point it would be premature to make any far-reaching conclusions. Yet, even if a fraction of the materials presented by Spanish prosecutors turns out to be correct, this will, once again, demonstrate not only the corrupt nature of Russian political elites but also testify to the scale of ties between Russian criminal (and political) circles located in Russia and Russian mafia structures abroad. Given Western economic sanctions (actual and potential), this channel could be activated to avoid or diminish the potential impact of the United States and/or European Union’s economic sanctions directed against Russian elites.

Just in case you need more evidence, here is part ONE of the deeper dive on details. As a sample:

Gennady Petrov: Petrov (also known as Gennadios Vasilevich Petrov) is the “chief” of a criminal group having a clear pyramidal structure. Other gang members are under his ferule. They had named him “chief,” “boss,” “leader” or “principal.” In the framework of his functions, Petrov had maintained close ties with representatives of the Russian political, economic, judicial and police authorities, as well as with members of international organized crime with the purpose to implement joint projects. With the assistance of lawyers, managers and confidants, he has created in Spain a network of companies in order to cash out monetary funds obtained by the criminal group. In Russia, he maintains close ties with high-ranking officials in the political, criminal and law enforcement spheres.

If you can stand it, here is part TWO and here is part THREE.

In summary, when Natalia Veselnitskya met with Manafort and others at Trump Tower, the Magnitsky Act was the basis of the meeting. Don’t shoot the messenger here, but facts and context matter.

Included in the documents released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is a one-page document submitted by Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s 2016 effort. Manafort was serving in that role on June 9, 2016, when he joined Donald Trump Jr. and campaign adviser Jared Kushner in a meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney who had promised incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Those notes, apparently taken on Manafort’s phone, are as follows.

In full:

  • Bill browder
  • Offshore — Cyprus
  • 133m shares
  • Companies
  • Not invest — loan
  • Value in Cyprus as inter
  • Illici
  • Active sponsors of RNC
  • Browder hired Joanna Glover
  • Tied into Cheney
  • Russian adoption by American families

In the absence of other context, the notes are cryptic and include words that certainly seem to wave red flags. “Offshore,” “Illici[t]” — even an apparent mention of former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Iran To Hit Infrastructure With Cyber Attack

From Trevor Loudon's News Feed:

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: (Reuters) – Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.

Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The other signatories have been scrambling to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.

*** At the Aspen Security Summit on Iran

In part:

ASPEN, Colo. — Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials.

Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak.

Cyber threats have been a major theme of the 2018 Aspen Security Forum, with administration officials from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein all warning of the pervasive danger from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

In Aspen Thursday, DNI Coats said that Russia was a more active cyber foe than Iran or China — “by far” the most aggressive, he said.

While Russia may be the most aggressive, the U.S. officials said Iran is making preparations that would enable denial-of-service attacks against thousands of electric grids, water plants, and health care and technology companies in the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

“Iran has a penchant for using such tools against the West,” said Ben Taleblu. “The cyber domain permits the Islamic Republic to engage in graduated escalation, a hallmark of Iranian security policy.”

U.S. officials have alerted America’s allies in Europe and the Middle East to the potential Iranian threat and have begun preparing a menu of possible responses, according to both current and former US officials. It’s unclear if the options include a preemptive cyberattack to deter Iran from launching one.

Senior U.S. officials remain divided over the use of a preemptive cyberattack. More here.

Perhaps it is almost important to be reminded about the bomb plot last month in Paris. For a full summary of events at the #FreeIran event in Paris, go here.

Israel’s Mossad spy agency thwarted a terror attack in a Paris suburb last month, giving authorities in France, Germany, and Belgium crucial intelligence that led to arrests of a cell headed by an Iranian diplomat, Hebrew media reported Thursday.

The cell, headed by an Iranian diplomat at the Austrian embassy in Vienna, also consisted of  two Belgian nationals and an alleged accomplice in France. They planned to bomb a June 30 conference organized by an Iranian dissident group, the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran.

The operation included tracking the suspects and eavesdropping on them,  Hadashot said.

The Belgian nationals, a husband and wife identified as Amir S. and Nasimeh N., were charged earlier this month with their role in the plot.

The couple, described by Belgian prosecutors as being “of Iranian origin,” carried 500 grams (about a pound) of the volatile explosive TATP along with a detonation device when an elite police squad stopped them in a residential district of Brussels.

The arrests came days before Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif met with European nations to try to shore up the 2015 nuclear accord, after US President Donald Trump walked away from the deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to the operation ahead of the meeting.

“There is a meeting this week by the P4 without the United States…” and “the P4 invited Iran’s President Rouhani to attend,” Netanyahu said derisively at an event to mark US Independence Day. More here.

Also see: Iran has laid groundwork for extensive cyberattacks on U.S., say officials

Elections’ Voter Registration System and the Russian Investor

From Trevor Loudon's News Feed:

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Remember the outrage when sites all over the Internet published items that Soros owned the voting machines? Remember that same outrage when Soros invested heavily in the states’ secretaries that were responsible for the respective elections process?

Remember the outrage that a Russian investor was able to buy American uranium in a deal concocted by Hillary? We learned then about the Committee for United States Foreign Investment.

Remember the outrage when Obama deferred the ‘red-line’ chemical weapons removal in Syria to Moscow that killed thousands? Anyone remember the anger when Russia shot down MH17, a civilian airliner, killing everyone on board?

Remember that we have lost regard for the top ranks of the FBI due to the Russian investigation and the Hillary investigation?

Remember the horror and vote rigging reported across various states in the recent elections?

Our votes are the most sacrosanct privilege Americans have. Okay, so how about the very under-reported matter in Maryland?

See, it was not until AFTER the Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers for computer hacking that Maryland officials reached out to Rod Rosenstein. FBI officials in the Maryland office held a briefing with the Maryland officials and did not want to make the information public… that is due to a wider investigation on the matter. What matter is that?

Well…

Vladimir Potanin – Getty Images

In part:

Four FBI agents informed state officials Thursday that a vendor Maryland has contracted with — ByteGrid LLC — to host data for statewide elections has ties to a Russian oligarch, Miller and Busch said.

Potanin acquired his wealth notably through the controversial loans-for-shares program in Russia in the early to mid-1990s.

He is one of the wealthiest men in Russia, with an estimated net worth of $15.9 billion, ranking 83rd on the 2018 Forbes The World’s Billionaires list, and 6th in Russia. His long-term business partner was Mikhail Prokhorov until they decided to split in 2007. Subsequently, they put their mutual assets in a holding company, Folletina Trading, until their asset division was agreed upon.

In January 2018, Potanin appeared on the US Treasury’s “Putin list” of 210 individuals closely associated with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

ByteGrid LLC owns the servers that hold the data for voter registration, candidacy, election management, and election night results, state elections officials said. An ownership stake in the company was purchased by AltPoint Capital Partners, whose largest investor is a Russian oligarch named Vladimir Potanin, the election officials said.

Busch said that Potanin is “very close” to Russian Pesident Vladimir Putin and that Altpoint’s managing partner is Gerald T. Banks, a Russian millionaire who changed his name from Guerman Aliev.

But Busch said the state has no evidence that Potanin or Banks had done anything untoward.

“We don’t have any idea whether they meddled in any elections at all,” Busch said.

Attempts to reach the companies were unsuccessful.

The Maryland officials also said they had no indication the Russian-linked firm had anything to do with the problems that arose shortly before June’s primary election in which more than 80,000 voters’ change of address and party affiliation requests were never forwarded from the Motor Vehicle Administration to election officials.

The Maryland news came hours after the Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, charging that they hacked the computer networks of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.The 11-count indictment alleges that the Russian agents infiltrated the networks, implanting malicious computer code and stealing documents on field operations, opposition research and campaign analytics as a way of interfering with the election.

The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S., aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

According to the indictment, the Russians posted stolen documents online and worked with an organization — unnamed but believed to be WikiLeaks — to spread them further, and take advantage of continuing tensions between supporters of Clinton and primary opponent Bernie Sanders.

The federal indictment charging 12 Russian includes an allegation that a Twitter account, @BaltimoreIsWhr, was set up to invite people to join a “flash mob” and to post images using the hashtag “#BlacksAgainstHillary.”

It is the latest revelation of how social media were used locally and nationally in an attempt to influence the election. Cyber security analysts in September told The Baltimore Sun that a Facebook ad that referred to the Black Lives Matter movement and targeted Baltimore users in the months following the 2015 riots was likely part of a broader effort by Russia to sow discontent and deepen racial tension.

In response to such ads, the General Assembly in April passed a bill requiring social media platforms and websites with significant traffic to track all political ads and record which users are being targeted. In May, Hogan expressed reservations that the law could be found unconstitutional and allowed the bill to become law without his signature.

The @BaltimoreIsWhr account has been suspended.  Read more here.

Election officials in Maryland along with Governor Hogan have asked the Department of Homeland Security for technical assistance to evaluate the network used by the state elections board. ByteGrid, interesting name, was bought by the Russian investor in 2015 without the knowledge of Maryland officials. ByteGrid hosts the entire state system including registration, online ballot delivery systems and unofficial election night results.

Oh yeah, one last item, Maryland was one of the states that had very suspicious online activity in the 2016 election according to DHS and the FBI. That suspicious activity was for online registration and in the ballot request system.

According to the ByteGrid website, they offer: “With ByteGrid’s Compliant Hosting Solutions you get security, compliance and control over your business-critical data. Our CISA and CRISC certified experts have you covered. Industry sectors include: Life Sciences, Health IT, Financial and Government.”