- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2017

President Trump’s ousted former national security adviser engaged with several Twitter accounts operated by a St. Petersburg “troll farm” accused of interfering in last year’s White House race on behalf of the Russian government.

Retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts linked to the Kremlin-sponsored Internet Research Agency and retweeted their messages at least three times in the month prior to Mr. Trump’s November 2016 election, The Daily Beast first reported.

The five accounts are included in a list of 2,752 handles tied to the Internet Research Agency by the social media service and published by congressional investigators Wednesday as officials in the House, Senate and Justice Department continues probing Russia’s role in the 2016 race.

Jenn_Abrams, LauraBaeley, Pamela_Moore13, SouthLoneStar and Ten_GOP are the handles associated with the five Twitter accounts followed by Mr. Flynn, The Daily Beast reported.

The “Abrams” “Baeley” and “Moore” accounts purportedly belonged to female Trump supporters, while SouthLoneStar’s online biography claimed that account was operated by a “Proud Texan and American Patriot” who believed that “Islam is against Western culture,” the report said. Ten_GOP boasted of being the “Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans” but was actually operated by the Internet Research Agency as well, according to previous news reports.

Each of the nearly 3,000 accounts tied to the Russian troll farm were detected by Twitter and deactivated within the last three months, The Daily Beast reported.

Mr. Flynn repeatedly engaged with the Russian accounts in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election when Mr. Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, quoting their tweets in posts to his 166,000 followers and sharing them with other Trump campaign insiders, the report said, citing several examples from the 2016 election cycle.

American intelligence officials have since determined that the Russian government interfered in Mr. Trump’s election by deploying hackers, propagandists and other operative to muddy the race and diminish Mrs. Clinton’s odds of winning. Authorities in both chambers of Congress and the Department of Justice are currently investigating the full scope of Russia’s alleged involvement, including its supposed use of social media platforms prior to last Election Day.

Mr. Flynn could not be reached for comment prior to publication of Wednesday’s article, The Daily Beast reported.

Mr. Flynn was an early supporter of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and advised him on national security matters before and after his election last November. His White House tenure lasted less than a month, however, when revelations about Mr. Flynn’s past conversations with a Russian ambassador forced him to resign from office.

Representatives from Twitter, Google and Facebook testified on Capitol Hill this week about Russia’s use of social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and particularly the role of the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy tech firm implicated in conducting several major online influence operations on behalf of the Kremlin.

The Russian government has denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, notwithstanding evidence linking the Internet Research Agency and Moscow’s military intelligence agency with activities targeting last year’s election.


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