The U.S. Department of Justice is using a once-obscure law, most commonly used today to require the registration of those who lobby in the United States on behalf of foreign governments, to target foreign-based anonymous disinformation actors on social media.
Latest in FARA
The Foreign Agent Registration Act is having a moment – in fact its best year since 1939, as the Justice Department charges three people with spying on Twitter users for Saudi Arabia. Since they were clearly acting like spies but not stealing government secrets or company intellectual property, FARA seems to be the only law that they could be charged with violating.
A judge in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia overturned the conviction of Bijan Rafiekian, Michael Flynn's partner in pro-Turkey lobbying. Rafiekian had been previously convicted on "one count of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C.
On Thursday, April 11, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of former White House Counsel Greg Craig.
The guilty plea former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered Friday marks a milestone in the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) more vigorously. In Count One of the government’s superseding criminal information, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with his failure to register under FARA as an agent of the government of Ukraine; that country’s Party of Regions; former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych; and the Opposition Bloc, a successor to Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
Longtime Washington political operative W. Samuel Patten was charged on Friday for failing to register as an agent of a foreign principal under 22 U.S.C. §§612 and 618(a)(1). The Justice Department alleges that between 2014 and 2018, Patten acted on behalf of the Ukrainian political party, Opposition Bloc, a Russia-allied political group.
To read a lot of media coverage, and to listen to her lawyer, you would think Mariia Butina, the Russian national accused of conspiring to influence U.S. policy as an agent of the Russian Federation, was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Our Founders were well aware of the dangers of foreign influence. In his presidential farewell address, George Washington cautioned that, “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . a free people ought to be constantly awake.” But we fell asleep: Russian influence in the 2016 election was a stunning reminder of what can happen when a nation lets its guard down.