Experts Encourage More Public Awareness of Russian Meddling

The United States will get hit again by Russian cyberattacks if the country doesn't pay closer attention and work more closely with European allies who are also victims, international elections experts warned on Wednesday.

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, experts described extensive Russian interference in European elections and encouraged more awareness among the American of how Russians are trying to undermine U.S. candidates and faith in government. One witness, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, criticized both former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump for not doing more to publicize the problem and combat it.

"I do think that it's time for Congress and not the president to lead the response to Russia's cyberattack on the United States," said Nicholas Burns, who worked as NATO ambassador and undersecretary at the State Department under President George W. Bush.

Burns criticized Obama for not doing more as it became apparent during last year's election that Russia was trying to interfere. But he had harsher words for Trump, saying he hadn't been skeptical enough of Russia's role in the election.

"If he continues to refuse to act, it's a dereliction of his most basic duty to protect the country," Burns said.

Russian officials have denied any meddling in the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that President Vladimir Putin was responsible.

Burns recommended that the United States work more closely with Europe to identify Russia's cyber disinformation -- fake news spread through social media, for example -- and share information in real time. He also recommended that U.S. print, radio and television networks find ways to quickly discredit those Russian efforts as they happen.

Janis Sarts, director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, said "society and its perceptions" are the main target of Russian influence operations, so popular awareness that they are happening...

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