The UK government 'actively avoided' investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum
The UK government avoided investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum. That's according to a highly-anticipated report into Russian influence in UK politics and society. The report, by the UK Parliament's Intelligence and Security Commitee, suggests that ministers "had not seen or sought evidence of successful interference in UK democratic processes." One member of the ISC said the government appeared to have "actively avoided" looking at Russian influence on Brexit. The report found there was "extreme caution" among UK security officials to look into it.
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The UK government failed to investigate potential Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a long-awaited report into the Kremlin's influence in British politics and society. The report by the Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC) suggests that ministers "had not seen orsought evidence of successful interference" in Brexit. The report says that there was an "extreme caution" among UK security agencies to investigate potential Russian interference in the 2016 referendum, and that their reluctance was "illogical." ISC member and member of Parliament Stewart Hosie on Tuesday said the government had "actively avoided" investigating the matter, adding that there had been "no assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum and that goes back to nobody wanting to touch this issue with a ten-foot pole." He said the ISC found it "astonishing" that the UK government didn't seek to "protect the referendum" by looking into potential Russian interference.
"The report reveals that no one in government knew if Russia interfered in or sought to influence the [Brexit] referendum because they did not want to know"Stewart Hosie MP says government "actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered"https://t.co/XqUf6IhKR0 pic.twitter.com/Y6nNw64bG3 — BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 21, 2020
Commenting on suggestions that Russia interfered in the referendum, the report says: "We have not been provided with any post-referendum assessment of Russian attempts at interference." "This situation is in stark contrast to the US handling of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, where an intelligence community assessment was produced within two months of the vote, with an unclassified summary being made public." Labour MP Kevan Jones, another committee member, said the government had "clearly let us down" after failing to investigate interference in the referendum after there was evidence of Russian interference in both the US presidential election of 2016 and Scottish independence referendum of 2014. The 50-page report calls for a full, retrospective assessment into whether Russia interfered in the referendum. "Even if the conclusion of any such assessment were that there was minimal interference, this would nonetheless represent a helpful reassurance to the public that the UK's democratic processes had remained relatively safe," it says. The UK government rejected this call in its response to the report. "A retrospective assessment of the EU referendum is not necessary," it said. The UK government was led by David Cameron in the run-up to the referendum before he was replaced as UK prime minister by Theresa May.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
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A report released on Tuesday depicts the failure of successive British governments to combat Russian interference...A report released on Tuesday depicts the failure of successive British governments to combat Russian interference despite ample evidence of meddling.
Failure to establish key scrutiny committee is also criticised as ‘unprecedented underhand behaviour’ The government’s apparent...Failure to establish key scrutiny committee is also criticised as ‘unprecedented underhand behaviour’ The government’s apparent refusal to release a report into Russian infiltration in the UK and to delay establishing a key scrutiny committee has been condemned as unprecedented and “utterly reprehensible”.The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has not met since before the general election in December – its longest break since it was established in 1994 – and critics say the government has sat on the committee’s report into Russian interference for nine months. Continue reading...
Obama's office excoriated a GOP-led congressional probe into Joe Biden and Ukraine as giving 'credence to a Russian disinformation campaign'
The office of former President Barack Obama excoriated a Republican-led congressional investigation into former Vice President...The office of former President Barack Obama excoriated a Republican-led congressional investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and purported Ukrainian election interference as giving "credence to a Russian disinformation campaign," according to a March letter obtained by BuzzFeed News. The letter said the investigation, led by GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, "arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine." It also said that in addition to legitimizing Russia's disinformation campaign in the US — which has been promoted by Republican lawmakers — Johnson and Grassley's request is legally unprecedented. Nonetheless, Obama's office will provide the committees access to the records they'd requested "in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request," the letter concluded. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The office of former President Barack Obama excoriated a Republican-led congressional investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election as giving "credence to a Russian disinformation campaign," according to a March letter obtained by BuzzFeed News. Anita Decker Breckenridge, a records representative for Obama, sent the letter to the National Archives and Records Administration on March 13. The letter was sent in connection to a November request from Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley to NARA requesting Obama administration records "related to certain meetings connected to Ukraine." The two senators launched their investigation into Biden and alleged Ukrainian election meddling last year, while the House of Representatives was investigating President Donald Trump's efforts to strongarm Ukraine into delivering political dirt against Biden in exchange for vital security assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine's president. Biden is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The US intelligence community concluded with high confidence in early 2017 that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to propel Trump to the presidency. There is no evidence that the Ukrainian government engaged in a similar effort to help Democrats, as Trump and Republicans have alleged. NARA is authorized to provide "special access to presidential records to a Committee of either House of Congress before their scheduled release date, provided the information in the records 'is needed for the conduct of its business' and 'is not otherwise available,'" Breckenridge wrote. She also highlighted that incumbent and former presidents are allowed to review and potentially withhold documents to protect the "confidentiality of presidential communications," and that Obama has "consistently supported the nonpartisan administration of presidential records and the commitment to transparency core to NARA's mission." However, the letter continued, Johnson and Grassley's request is an improper use of the NARA exceptions and "arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine." Breckenridge pointed to impeachment testimony from Fiona Hill, the White House's former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs. Hill was one of several witnesses who testified last year about her knowledge of an "irregular" foreign policy channel that Trump's allies used to force Ukraine to cave to the president's demands. In her opening remarks, Hill skewered several Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee for suggesting Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 race. "Based on questions I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that, perhaps, somehow for some reason Ukraine did," Hill said. "This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves." David Hale, the US's undersecretary of state for political affairs, also testified that he had not seen any "credible evidence" showing Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Democrats. Breckenridge's letter continued to take aim at Republicans conducting the Ukraine congressional probe, saying their request for the early release of presidential records "in order to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign — one that has already been thoroughly investigated by a bipartisan congressional committee — is without precedent." However, Breckenridge concluded the letter by saying that Obama's office would provide the committees access to the records they'd requested "in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet