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    UK failed to investigate Russia over Brexit

    The UK government failed to determine whether Russia meddled in the 2016 Brexit referendum, a parliamentary report released on Tuesday (July 21) said. It demanded the intelligence community investigate the issue and make its findings public. The long-awaited report by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee said Russia considers the UK one of its “top Western intelligence targets.” It found that Russia meddled in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, but said the British government hadn’t asked for a deep assessment of possible interference in the 2016 vote on membership of the EU. Instead, the intelligence community “took their eye off the ball,” it said, despite open source indications that Russia sought to influence the Brexit campaign. Scottish National Party lawmaker, Stewart Hosie: “No one in government knew if Russia interfered in or sought to influence the referendum because they did not want to know. The UK government have actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered. We were told that they hadn’t seen any evidence, but that is meaningless if they hadn’t looked for it.” The report urged the UK to equip itself to counter Russia’s disinformation campaigns and “political influence operations.” The Kremlin said Russia has never interfered in another country’s electoral processes. The report casts the United States and Britain as gripped by anti-Russian hysteria. And it casts Russia as a hostile power which posed a significant threat to the UK and the West across a range of fronts, from espionage and cyber attacks to election meddling and laundering dirty money. According to the report, it was only when Russia completed a “hack and leak” operation against the Democratic National Committee in the U.S. – with stolen emails made public a month after the Brexit vote – that the government belatedly understood the risk. U.S. intelligence believes Russia sought to intervene in the 2016 presidential election to help eventual winner Donald Trump. Relations between London and Moscow hit a post-Cold War low in 2018 when Britain blamed Moscow for trying to kill former double agent Sergei Skripal with a Soviet-developed nerve agent on British soil. Russia denied it was to blame.
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    World News from Reuters

    #failed #investigate #Russia #Brexit

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