>> We've seen a tremendous escalation in what used to be called Russia's influence operations, or active operations, during the Cold War. The Western Intelligence Services say that the Russians are using hacking but also propaganda and other forms of disinformation. We've seen the spread of fake news. In addition to that, according to intelligence services, there is quite a lot of money flowing into pro-Russian political parties.
And the intelligence services have warned that the Russians could use the same tools that we're seeing and identified during the US election here in Europe. In Germany at the beginning of 2016, there was a tremendous incident of fake news. There was a report that a 13 year old German-Russian girl, a Russian-German girl had been kidnapped and raped by migrants, caused a lot of angst and frustration, protests.
It really took German-Russian relations to a new low. And the story turned out to be completely false. But the damage was done. And the European Union has set up an office to deal with fake news, and push back against it. Although we're told that, that office is underfunded and isn't taken as seriously as it needs to be.
And Germany is also looking at that but here in Germany there's the sensitivity of not wanting to setup something that would be considered like a ministry of truth. And there is a strain of anti-Americanism that is prevalent here and was exasperated by the NSA scandal. So, it's a very sensitive issue within the coalition.
There are differing opinions about whether to continue with sanctions against Russia or whether to back off of them. I think it's gonna be a very interesting time.