Accusations of concealment and whitewashing are one of the core techniques of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign, like reported by euvsdisinfo.eu. What makes it a convenient method is the possibility to influence the public debate and channel criticism toward the opponent – but not have the responsibility to show the evidence to back up the claims.
This week, we saw two disinformation tools combined: hacking and accusations that Western authorities are hiding problems. Hackers from Fancy Bears published documents of the Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) and claimed the Swedish sports functionaries had been hiding positive doping tests.
The Swedish Sports Confederation stated that, in fact, nothing suggests that the athletes had been involved in doping, reported the hack to the police and appealed to the media and the publicnot to help spread the sensitive personal details of the athletes.
The activities of Fancy Bears feed into Russia’s year-long campaign to discredit international anti-doping organisations after systemic manipulation of anti-doping rules in Russia during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was revealed.
In the incident when they attacked the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA, the documents hackers published included fake data. Western governments and security experts link Fancy Bear, also known as APT28, to a Russian intelligence agency for the attack on the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 U.S. elections.