Covert influence is the new money laundering

Cortney Weinbaum is a national security researcher with the Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and a former intelligence officer in the U.S. intelligence community.

Google is the most recent company known to have discovered evidence of Russian covert influence on its books. As more media companies realize Russia bought advertising space or promoted news stories — fake and otherwise — on their platforms, covert influence has become the new money laundering.

Both activities hide below the surface of legitimate enterprises, cast a shadow of disrepute on those very enterprises and can be neutralized through transparency and accountability.

Anti-money laundering laws provide useful lessons for combating covert influence and could be adapted for online media models that do not require users to be paid customers.

In the 20th century, the rise of organized criminal enterprises,

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