REPORT: Lea Gabrielle to Be Appointed by The White House to Lead State Department’s Efforts to Counter Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation


How Gabrielle will impact the GEC’s mandate is also unclear; the Trump administration’s State Department has been criticized for not taking the threat of Russian disinformation efforts seriously.

Additionally, the State Department’s failure to embark on a $40 million initiative to counter Russia election interference and disinformation has also been questioned. The funds for the initiative came by way of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. It’s unclear, however, how much of the initiative has been carried out and how much of that funding has been made available to the GEC.

That $40 million amount is “just a third of what was originally intended,” according to March 2018 report from The New York Times that found “the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.”

The report continued:

As a result, not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts.

The president has in recent days retaliated against the House Intelligence Committee, saying that there is no reason for Congress to investigate whether his decision-making (which has often been described as deferential to Russian adversaries) has been motivated by financial gain.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said the investigation will “allow us to investigate any credible allegation that financial interests or other interests are driving decision-making of the President or anyone in the administration,” adding that the investigation’s scope “pertains to any credible allegations of leverage by the Russians or the Saudis or anyone else.”

The president characterized the probe as “Unlimited Presidential Harassment.”

The president has not personally addressed how his administration will counter Russian propaganda efforts.

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