Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign official who has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, was contacted by an Israeli intelligence group during the campaign with a possible social media campaign that involved using fake accounts to gather intelligence and sway users away from Trump’s opponents, The New York Times reported Monday.
Psy-Group gave Gates at least three proposals that involved using social media manipulation to prop up then candidate Trump, according to copies of the plans obtained by the Times and interviews with four people involved in the documents’ creation. The company is staffed by former Israeli intelligence officials.
One proposal involved using fake social media accounts to sway delegates for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), then Trump’s main Republican opponent, away from him and toward Trump. A second proposal involved collecting opposition and “complementary intelligence activities” on Hillary Clinton, according to the Times. Similar to the disinformation campaigns that Russian operatives were launching around the same time, Psy-Group also suggested that the campaign use social media to highlight polarization in the U.S.
Gates ultimately rejected the company’s social media campaigns, according to the Times.
Read the full report here.
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