In recent months, Zero Hedge has published numerous articles that accused the U.S. of fomenting panic about Ukraine, which now faces the possibility of an invasion by more than 130,000 Russian troops massed on several sides of the country. Some of those articles are listed as being written by people affiliated with the Strategic Culture Foundation.
U.S. intelligence officials on Tuesday accused a conservative financial news website with a significant American readership of amplifying Kremlin propaganda and alleged five media outlets targeting Ukrainians have taken direction from Russian spies, AP reports.
The officials said Zero Hedge, which has 1.2 million Twitter followers, published articles created by Moscow-controlled media that were then shared by outlets and people unaware of their nexus to Russian intelligence. The officials did not say whether they thought Zero Hedge knew of any links to spy agencies and did not allege direct links between the website and Russia.
Zero Hedge denied the claims and said it tries to “publish a wide spectrum of views that cover both sides of a given story.”
The officials briefed The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence sources. It was the latest effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to release U.S. intelligence findings about Russian activity involving Ukraine as part of a concerted push to expose and influence the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials previously accused Putin of planning a “false-flag” operation to create a pretext for a new invasion of Ukraine and detailed what they believe are final-stage Russian preparations for an assault.
It’s unclear whether U.S. efforts are changing Putin’s behavior. And without releasing more proof of its findings, Washington has been criticized and reminded of past intelligence failures such as the debunked allegations that pre-war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Zero Hedge has been sharply critical of Biden and posted stories about allegations of wrongdoing by his son Hunter. While perhaps best known for its coverage of markets and finance, the website also covers politics with a conservative bent.
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