- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Twitter has missed a deadline to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee with answers involving certain Russian-linked accounts requested by lawmakers probing the 2016 U.S. presidential race, much to the chagrin of the panel’s ranking Democrat.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia blasted Twitter after a Monday deadline came and went this week without his committee receiving further information about the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked “troll farm” accused of exploiting social media platforms as part of a state-sponsored interference campaign targeting the 2016 White House race.

“I’m disappointed. I’ve been disappointed throughout this,” Mr. Warner told journalists, The Hill reported.

“I would not be satisfied with [getting the information] within the next couple of weeks. I wanted it by the deadline,” Mr. Warner said.

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Russia interfered in the 2016 White House race by using state-sponsored operatives including hackers, propagandists and professional trolls to sow discord and disrupt the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, triggering investigations within the Senate, House and Department of Justice.

“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or ‘trolls,’” the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded previously.

“The likely financier of the so-called Internet Research Agency of professional trolls located in Saint Petersburg is a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence,” the assessment said.

Representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter testified during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last year that Russian operatives used their products to meddle in the White House race, and each of the companies had agreed to provide further details about those activities by Jan. 8.

Twitter has been often times the slowest to respond,” Mr. Warner said Tuesday. “The other companies met the deadline, which was way over a month from when they testified.”

Twitter said in a statement Tuesday that the request hasn’t gone unrecognized.

“We are continuing to work closely with committee investigators to provide detailed, thorough answers to their questions,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “As our review is ongoing, we want to ensure we are providing Congress with the most complete, accurate answers possible. We look forward to finalizing our responses soon.”

Twitter previously identified more than 2,750 profile linked to the Internet Research Agency, and subsequent reporting has revealed that certain members of President Trump’s 2016 campaign team retweeted or echoed several of their posts prior to Election Day.

Moscow has denied meddling in Mr. Trump’s election, and the White House has denied colluding with the Kremlin.

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