Program Details

Russian Covert Intervention in the 2016 US Elections: What Happened?

James Bruce
Current Events / International Relations

Course Description

This program will unpack and seek to clarify a key controversy surrounding the November 2016 election of Donald J. Trump. The unprecedented resignation of President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael J. Flynn, only 24 days into the administration, along with the subsequent indictments of both Americans and Russians, has highlighted the seriousness of the charges of Russian covert intervention. The Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, some in Congress, and the media continue to seek answers bearing on these allegations, and aim to present the facts and implications to the American people. This lecture will address the following questions: What did Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence actually do to attempt to influence the Trump and Clinton campaigns and the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election? How extensive was the cyber hacking and the injection of fake news and propaganda into US social media and other campaign activities? Were there pre-election back-channel contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign organization intended to facilitate Russian covert influence on the election? What effects, if any, did Russian influence attempts have on the results of the election? In the two years that have passed since the election, much new information has emerged to enable a more evidence-based approach to understanding these key controversies that clouded the election process, shaped Trump’s disparagement of US intelligence agencies, and raised troubling questions about the integrity of the US national election processes.

About the Instructor

  • Dr. James Bruce, PhD is an adjunct researcher at the RAND Corporation and formerly a Senior Political Scientist there, a retired senior executive officer at CIA, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown and Florida Atlantic Universities. At RAND, he leads research projects for US Intelligence Community and DoD clients. He retired from CIA in 2005 after nearly 24 years where he held management positions in the Directorate of Analysis and in the Directorate of Operations. He served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology, and as Chief of Counterintelligence Training. He also served as a senior staff member on the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Silberman-Robb WMD Commission). He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, and co-edited Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners’ Perspectives, 2nd ed. (Georgetown University Press, 2014). He is a US Navy veteran.

Upcoming programs presented by James Bruce.

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