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Russia has targeted democracy in Britain in a similar way to the “large-scale covert warfare” waged during the US presidential election, according to Hillary Clinton.
She claims Moscow would seek to interfere in future elections to “undermine — perhaps even destroy” Western democracy. In her memoir What Happened, published today, Ms Clinton argues that there was “overwhelming” evidence Russia sought to influence the US election in Donald Trump’s favour, a claim denied by the Kremlin.
“What’s more, we know now that the Russians have mounted similar operations in other Western democracies,” she writes. “After the US election, Facebook found and removed tens of thousands of fake accounts in France and the United Kingdom.”
MPs were hacked in Germany while “Denmark and Norway say the Russians breached key ministries”.
The former Democratic presidential candidate argues that the alleged Russian interference in the US election and “fake news” threat are more serious than the Watergate scandal that led to the downfall of Richard Nixon in 1974.
She suggests the US needs to respond to them with resolve equal to that shown against Nazi Germany: “In 1940 … the writer John Buchan wrote, ‘We have been shaken out of our smugness and warned of a great peril, and in that warning lies our salvation.
‘The dictators have done us a marvelous service to remind us of the true values of life.’ Americans today need to be similarly alert and determined.”
In the 494-page book, published by Simon & Schuster, she accuses Moscow of trying to “game the internet” by creating a “vast network” of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts and community pages.
Backing a tougher approach on Syria and Ukraine, the former secretary of state says the US should “declare a new doctrine that states that a cyberattack on our vital national infrastructure will be treated as an act of war and met with a proportionate response.”
She advocates “getting tough” with Vladimir Putin: “He responds only to strength.”
She criticises former FBI director James Comey for not going public earlier with concerns over alleged links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Ms Clinton says that as soon as a woman stands for public office there is analysis of “her face, her body, her voice, her demeanour, the diminishment of her stature, her ideas, her accomplishments, her integrity … It can be unbelievably cruel”.
She tells how Downton Abbey reminded her of staying at Buckingham Palace in 2011 during Barack Obama’s visit — it “was like stepping into a fairytale”.
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