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A public forum titled “Russia, the U.S., and Trump,” was held at Ridgefield Library last weekend by the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee.  One of the keynote speakers was 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  He was joined by Connecticut Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates in taking questions from the audience about Russia's political climate, possible interference in elections in the US and Europe, and the status of investigations in Congress.

 

Himes is the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

 

Bates was a policy advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee and principal author of “Winning the War on Terror” which informed the 911 Commission hearings.

 

When it comes to interference, Himes says Vladimir Putin was trying to keep the West unbalanced, keep NATO away from Russian borders, and keep other countries internally focused so he can operate outside of Russia.

 

Himes said Russia isn't as strong as Putin wants people to believe so he used tactics that don't cost much and are deniable.  He also noted that Russia has been doing this for a long time, citing the shut down of the Georgian internet, getting into networks in the Baltics and targeting the election in France.  Himes also predicted Russia will try to meddle in Germany's upcoming election.

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