The FBI is investigating whether conservative news sites, including Breitbart and InfoWars, cooperated with the Russian government in an effort to influence the presidential election.
McClatchy reports the investigation is focused on the use of strategically-timed social media “bots” employed to blitz social media with pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton stories.
A bot is simply a program that gathers information based on defined specifications.
“The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News,” sources told McClatchy.
“This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” one former U.S. intelligence official stated on a condition of anonymity.
Federal investigators are seeking to discover if Breitbart and other sites cooperated in the efforts.
According to Alexa, Breitbart’s web traffic shot up dramatically in October, in relation to other similar websites, and has remained at a high level since. It currently is in the top 100 most viewed websites in the country, even outpacing FoxNews.com.
Breitbart reported on Nov. 19 that it experienced a record 300 million page views over the previous 31 days.
The news site did not respond for comment about the McClatchy story.
Breitbart’s former chairman, Steve Bannon, stepped down to become the CEO of the Trump campaign in August. He now serves as a top adviser on the president’s White House staff.
InfoWars’ Alex Jones responded to the story on his radio program on Monday.
“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.
“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,” Jones added, according to The Daily Caller.
As reported by Western Journalism, FBI Director James Comey confirmed on Monday in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that his agency is investigating “alleged links” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
Earlier this month, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated on Meet the Press there was “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., voiced the same conclusion on Fox News Sunday. (For more from the author of “The Ridiculous Reason the FBI Has Decided to Investigate Conservative Websites” please click HERE)