(UR) Washington, D.C. — In a move that further underscores the growing tensions between the United States and Russia, the Senate Intelligence Committee — via its 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act — is urging the White House to reinstate a Cold War-era program designed to expose Russian spies.
The bill, which the committee passed in May and must now be approved by the Senate, “Requires the President to establish an interagency committee to counter Russian active measures,” a press release stated.
As first reported by BuzzFeed:
“The group, which would include personnel from the State Department, intelligence community and several other executive offices, would meet monthly. Along with spies and covert killings, the committee would also investigate the funding of front groups — or cover organizations for Russian operations.”
Section 501 of the legislation — titled “Committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert overt influence over peoples and governments” — calls for the group to isolate “covert broadcasting” and “media manipulation” by America’s former Cold War foe.
It further proclaims the need to identify Russian “disinformation and forgeries, funding agents of influence, incitement, and offensive counterintelligence, assassinations, or terrorist acts.”
Section 502 would put extreme restrictions on Russian diplomats’ ability to travel outside their post. Russian personnel wouldn’t be allowed to move 50 miles outside their station, for instance, unless the director of the FBI certified, in writing, that all staff members working for the diplomat had complied with regulations regarding travel.
Meaning, essentially, that if one of a diplomat’s staff members failed to inform the U.S. government of their travel intentions ahead of time — just once — that diplomat’s mobility would be severely inhibited.
The proposed committee would fill a role similar to that of a Reagan-era interagency program called the Active Measures Working Group, which sought to counter Soviet disinformation and propaganda.
Not surprisingly, given the current state of geopolitical maneuvering, news of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bold intentions has not gone unnoticed by Russia.
On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made its thoughts on the matter abundantly clear via Twitter:
“If the movement of Russian diplomats is restricted in the US, we will take reciprocal action against US diplomats in Russia.”
Such reasoning is becoming increasingly common as the United States and Russia move closer and closer to the all-out war many see as inevitable, as Underground Reporter has previously reported.
Mere days ago, for instance, Russian president Vladimir Putin — in regard to NATO forces’ continued buildup in Eastern Europe — stated that:
“In these conditions, we are obliged to dedicate special attention to resolving tasks connected with heightening the defense capabilities of our country.”
Tit for tat, as it were.
Or, as recently encapsulated by AntiMedia:
“As mainstream media attention largely focuses on complex entanglements destabilizing the Middle East, the United States continues to advance a rather aggressive agenda against Russia through its NATO allies in the Balkans and beyond.”
Some, however, view a Cold War-style committee such as the one being proposed by the Senate as having more to do with politicking than actual national security.
“I can’t imagine any scenario where this would actually come to pass. The Senate’s announcement seems like election year pandering.”
In any case, it’s becoming progressively more imperative that cooler heads prevail in the battle of wills that could — if left unchecked — very well see the planet’s two most powerful countries turn a current, all but officially-recognized cold war, into a flaming hot one.
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