Cyberwarfare by Russia

Dan Coats hires first U.S. "elections threat executive"

In this image, Dan Coats looks forward.
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats testifies in 2018. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has hired Shelby Pierson, a career intelligence official, as the first U.S. "elections threats executive within the intelligence community," NPR reports.

Why it matters: FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Washington in April about Russia's "continued meddling in American elections" and called it a "significant counterintelligence threat," the NYT reports. In Friday's announcement, Coats said he is directing other agencies to appoint their own elections threat executives.

Study finds correlation between Russian social media trolls and 2016 polling

Trump and Putin at the 2018 G20 plenery
President Trump and Russian President Putin at the 2018 G20 summit. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A new study found a correlation between retweets of known Russian troll accounts during the 2016 election and Donald Trump's poll numbers.

Why it matters: The study, conducted by a team headed at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and published in the peer-reviewed University of Illinois-Chicago journal "First Monday," suggests that — despite protests to the contrary by Republicans and Trump allies — the Russian disinformation campaign was successful in influencing the 2016 election.