The FBI is investigating whether conservative websites contributed to alleged Russian interference during the 2016 election, McClatchy DC said in an innuendo-laden report on Monday.
Breitbart, InfoWars, and Kremlin-backed RT as well as Sputnik News are being examined by federal investigators, according to the report. The investigation is focused on whether Russia used social media “bots” to promote stories about President Donald Trump, unnamed sources told the website.
A USA Today editor was aghast after the report broke.
“Am I the only one who thinks an FBI counter-intel investigation of Breitbart is a dangerous move for press freedom?” David Mastio tweeted.
Am I the only one who thinks an FBI counter-intel investigation of Breitbart is a dangerous move for press freedom? https://t.co/jn0eZHM3zI
— David Mastio (@DavidMastio) March 21, 2017
InfoWars’ Alex Jones responded to the report.
“To be called a Russian asset by McClatchy and by the LA Times and by a bunch of other publications today is funny, if it wasn’t so serious,” he said on Monday. “I don’t personally take this as a threat … I’m threatened for the country. I mean if the Russians want to secure our borders, cut our taxes, not have us go bankrupt, rebuild our military, block radical Islam—well then, hell, I’m a Russian agent! But I’m not.”
Breitbart has yet to respond to the McClatchy report.
The FBI’s Counterintelligence Division is driving the investigation into the websites.
The report comes as FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress on Monday. “We’ve been doing this—this investigation began in late July, so for a counterintelligence investigation that’s a fairly short period of time,” he claimed.