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Washington Post ‘Fake News’ Story Fits Administration Propaganda Program

Jan. 2, 2017 (EIRNS)—Having just last month gotten burned for its shameless promotion of fake news outlet PropOrNot, you might think that the editors of the Washington Post would be more careful. The fact that they weren’t tells an even larger story.

Last Friday, December 30, under a fear mongering headline, "Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say," the Post claimed that digital evidence had been discovered proving that the Russian hacking operation "Grizzly Steppe" had breached security systems at the Burlington Electric Corporation. As exposed today by Forbes magazine, nothing like this happened.

Using digital techniques, Forbes confirmed this sequence of events: The original Post article went up at 7:55 p.m. Friday. Between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., the article "ballooned," with the hack now detected on multiple "computers" and now connected to operations against the DNC and the Podesta e-mail breaches.

By 9:37 p.m., the utility, which the Post had never seen fit to contact, issued its own denial of the charges.

"We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems," company spokesmen wrote. "We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.

"However," writes Forbes,

"it was not until almost a full hour after the utility’s official press release (at around 10:30 p.m. EDT) that the Post finally updated its article, changing the headline to the more muted, but still untrue, ‘Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say.’"

Despite all this, the Post had yet to indicate in the article itself that the story had been modified, and when they did, 11 hours later, its "editors note" appeared at the bottom of the article, not at the top, which is customary.

Everything here conforms to operations of the now-official "Countering Foreign Disinformation and Propaganda Act," tucked in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, and quietly signed by Obama, Dec. 23, 2016. The Global Engagement Center, at the heart of that bill, brings together the Secretaries of State and Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence (among others), to pay willing news outlets to circulate administration policies.

The Washington Post seems to be definitely on the take. "Federal officials" were its only source for an anti-Russian scare story with no basis in fact.