A top U.S. counterintelligence official says the United States is “decades behind” in countering Russian propaganda, Newsmax reports.
In an interview posted Wednesday by The Cipher Brief, Bill Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the nation has “a lot of growing to do” when it comes to Moscow’s messaging.
A few years ago, Evanina said he would go over to NATO and hear stories from Baltic states about Russian propaganda and “I’d be like, yeah, yeah, yeah,” the outlet reported.
“Until now, when we see it and the results of it, in the last year or so — now, your eyes are wide open, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’ve heard about this the last three years in Eastern Europe, and they’ve been living with this for decades,’” he said.
“We are just now getting in the game, and we are decades behind. The government, private sector, and most important, the media, is not experienced in this. They don’t know how to differentiate between what’s fake news, what’s not fake news, what’s a botnet. Eastern Europeans know the difference. We have a lot of growing to do as a country.” he said.
The threat Russia poses from its propaganda and intelligence collection activities is something Evanina considers a particularly stark challenge for the United States.
“I don’t know how we solve this issue,” he told the outlet.
“If it comes out at the end of the day there was no this, that, or whatever, does it make a difference? So, the Russians have achieved their mission, Russia President Vladimir Putin has achieved his mission, to say that he was a value in our election. It doesn’t make a difference, he’s already won that.” the official said.