The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now looking into a Russian government-funded news agency that helped influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win, according to Yahoo News.
Former Sputnik Washington Correspondent Andrew Feinberg turned over some emails to Yahoo and the FBI, according to the report.
According to Feinberg, he was also interviewed by the FBI for more than two hours on Sept. 1.
“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg explained to Yahoo News. “They were interested in examples of how I was steered towards covering certain issues.”
Former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa called the developments “incredibly significant.”
“The FBI has since the 1970s taken pains not to be perceived in any way as infringing on First Amendment activity,” he pointed out. “But this tells me they have good information and intelligence that these organizations have been acting on behalf of the Kremlin and that there’s a direct line between them and the [Russian influence operations] that are a significant threat to our democracy.”
According to Feinberg, Sputnik urged him to “obtain the CIA Director’s stolen emails” from a hacker.
“I refused because I believed this was a solicitation to espionage,” Feinberg wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.