According to an exclusive from CNN (take with a grain of salt), the FBI was armed and ready for Russian hackers spreading fake news on election day.
Multiple sources cited in the story say that on election day, dozens of FBI officials huddled around computer screens watching for security threats. In the months preceding it, many “viral” news stories making unsubstantiated claims, mostly about Hillary Clinton, had been circulating the web.
Intelligence officials sought to cover all bases, monitoring the networks of political parties, policy think tanks, and even entire state election systems. They had traced some stories back to overseas social media accounts and believed that at least some were part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
One source said determining which stories were real and fake lead them into muddy waters.
“We were right on the edge of Constitutional legality,” a person briefed on the investigation said. “We were monitoring news.”
At the end of the day, they actually congratulated themselves for a disruption-free election. Little did they know what was to come. One Obama official was incredulous, calling the American response to the Russian disinformation campaign a “failure of imagination.”
“Are you kidding?” that official recalled saying to others at the White House as they celebrated a successful election. “What they did worked!”
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied claims the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election when reportedly questioned by Trump at the G20 world summit last month.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the time that Trump and Putin had a “very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.”
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